As part of the conditional use permit for the new Discount Drug Mart, the drugstore chain agreed to renovate the home at 1425 Grace Avenue, instead of demolishing it.
However, neighbors, city officials and the city’s planning commission aren’t satisfied with the progress.
Last month, the city’s building department inspected the home — commonly referred to as “the white house” — and found 24 code violations, ranging from plumbing to general exterior maintenance issues.
The planning commission revisited Drug Mart’s conditional use permit on Thursday night.
Mary Louise Madigan, the city’s Ward 4 councilwoman, shared her concerns on behalf of the neighbors.
“This isn’t that difficult,” she said, referring to the renovation that the company agreed it would do. “It’s not a lot to ask for, especially with what everyone has been going through.
“The residents just want a clear timeline.”
The planning commission voted — after an hour-and-a-half of discussion and comments from neighbors — to give Drug Mart two months to come back with a clear timeline of when the house will be completed and the progress of the renovation.
If the terms aren't met, the commission could revoke the drugstore’s conditional use permit for accessory parking.
Drug Mart officials contend that the company has been in negotiations with a proposed buyer of the property, while the construction of the new store at 13123 Detroit Avenue wraps up.
“We understand that as Discount Drug Mart, we have a responsibility to make sure that it gets done,” said Tom McConnell, the CEO and president of Discount Drug Mart. “We’re not trying not to flip the house.”
“You’re still obligated to the city to make sure is no code violations,” said planning commission member Robert Greytak.
“Absolutely,” replied McConnell.
“The wintertime is not the time to work on a house,” he added. “It’s not what we do. A little more patience… I’d be glad to come back to the commission. I think we’ve shown in the last six months that we keep our commitments.”
Commission members pointed to McConnell’s presentation in August when he promised a renovated home.
“I have to tell you that your tone is quite a bit different than it was in August,” said Greytak, noting McConnell’s “mundane attitude.”
One by one, neighbors shared their views about the drug store’s progress.
“We do need Drug Mart to be accountable,” said one neighbor, who lives a couple doors down from the home. “Drug Mart hasn’t lived up to its promises."
She said construction vehicles still rumble up and down the streets, despite agreements that they wouldn't. Also, she said, work crews commonly begin before the 8 a.m. time that had been agreed upon.
“You,” she told the planning commission, “are our hope for accountability.”