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Drug Mart Proposal at Ganley Site Heads Back to the Drawing Board

The Lakewood Planning Commission rejects some of the drug stores requests.

It looks like the  on Detroit Avenue is headed back to the drawing board.

The Sun Post-Herald reported that the Lakewood Planning Commission denied a few of the drug store chain’s requests at its meeting on Thursday. 

The commission approved the lots consolidation at the site of the former Ganley Auto dealership, but denied other requests including a lot-split at 1425 Grace Avenue and a conditional use for an adjacent 11-unit apartment building to be used for accessory parking.

That means the apartment building won’t be demolished after all.

The issue of a conditional use of a drive-thru at the proposed drug store was tabled, the Sun Post-Herald reported.

“The planning commission did a good job talking through some very complicated issues,” Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, told Lakewood Patch. “We’ll see where it goes from here.”

— with its — has plans to move its eastern Lakewood location to the corner of Cohassett and Detroit avenues.

Plans call for a red brick structure, 92 parking spaces, a drive-thru, and green space that includes space for a bio-retention swale. 

The former auto dealership's showroom building would be demolished — along with an apartment building and vacant house at the rear of the property — to make way for a 24,000-square-foot Drug Mart, according to plans submitted to the city.

Those plans may need to be altered now, Siley said.

He said that — which now owns the Ganley site — is “going to evaluate their options.”

The company was scheduled to present plans at next week’s architectural board of review meeting. Those plans are on hold, while company officials decide what to do next. 

“They are pretty invested in the property,” Siley said. “They’re committed to finding a design for the property.” 

Neighbors have organized — and spoken out — against the development.

In a recent , nearby resident Mary Grodek said that most neighbors aren’t opposed to development — but rather the commercial “encroachment” into a residential neighborhood.

“Although many residents are concerned about Drug Mart’s impending location across the street from Garfield Middle School, the neighborhood is NOT anti-development,” she wrote. “The Ganley lot is zoned for and needs a commercial tenant. Drug Mart’s plan, however, is not progress.” 

ian king July 07, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Just amazing! Not a betting man, but I would say with this recent setback that it is 50/50 if Drug Mart will continue with its development of a much needed new store in this area of Lakewood. So short-sided, and anti-business this town is becoming! Ms. Grodek can call it not being "anti-development", but that is exactly what the neighbors are: either my way/my choice of business or no way. The planning commission of Lakewood it seems would rather have empty storefronts all over the city of Lakewood then encourage business development. Ms. Grodek, when you and your neighbors purchased your homes near Detroit, it was a vibrant business area. Do you now prefer urban decline to potential redevelopment? To pretend that somehow the proposed Drug Mart plan is not up to "community standards" - when many areas of Detroit in your neigborhood now are full of empty storefronts and vacant lots - is so short sided to the needs and survival of this city in tough economic times. "Thanks" to the easily influenced planning commission for caving in to a few well organized/vocal neighborhood activists. Most citizens of Lakewood want more business development, and find it very discouraging that our planning commission and some elected officials continue to discourage growth, other than it seems for more restaurants! Wake up Lakewood - this city continues to decline in both population and businesses. With this decision, this sad trend continues.
Michael Ciccarello July 07, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Ian, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but as is the case with many opinions, they are poorly researched and uninformed. The residents that spoke in opposition at Thursday's Planning Commission meeting opposed the purchase of residential parcels for expansion of the existing commercial footprint. At the meeting residents repeatedly expressed their support for development by Discount Drug Mart of the now vacant Ganley Auto Dealership, and their staunch opposition to encroaching into the residential neighborhood. Clearly, there are residents that would prefer to see something other than another discount drug store, but it certainly is better than a vacant and blighted site that detracts from our neighborhood, facilitates crime related activity and contributes virtually nil to the City's tax base. The well organized group of residents that opposed this "commercial footprint expansion", are also eager to work together with Drug Mart and City representatives to assist in a successful development project. Had Drug Mart and the City approached the residents at the beginning of the project for their input to develop the vacant site, it is quite possible that they would now be breaking ground instead of reviewing their options. We remain committed to preserving our neighborhood while assisting with and supporting commercial development that complements our residential neighborhood.
concerned residents July 07, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Yes, it is unfortunate. Many of the "well organized residents" were misled by what they thought that they were supporting. Instead of supporting what they thought that they joined forces to do, they were used in masses to attend meetings that were skewed to the desires of a few with selfish motives when it came time for public opinions. I have become aware that there were many different groups having meetings. Some residents were included in one meeting and not others. Other residents were only invited to larger meetings just prior to public city meetings in order to gather as many warm bodies as possible to give the impression that all residents had the same opinions (and told to bring as many of their friends and relatives as possible). Others were part of select groups having other meetings that most were not privy to. Many of those who claim to be FOR redevelopment, quite simply are not. They've attempted to mask their opinions as pro-redevelopment, but quite frankly, it's not so bought into. Some of their followers are very naive, but not everyone is. They can rejoice in the fact that there is a very good chance that the former Ganley business will continue to sit vacant, continue to deteriorate and depreciate property values of the neighboring residents. Good job "well organized residents!" Time to get your heads out of the sand and stop being naive followers!!!
Carl Roloff July 07, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I think the Planning Commission should be applauded for making a tough decision. This wasn't a choice of commercial development or no commercial development for them, that would have been a lot easier. It was a decision about how far commercial development should be allowed to extend into a neighborhood. It was about a request to take residential property for commercial interests in a way not provided as a right by law. It was clear that the city wanted the project and the Commission wanted to approve it; they even asked Drug Mart if they could do the project without the second residential lot. Drug Mart's answer was "no", so the "my way or no way" attitude wasn't from the residents, it was from Drug Mart. The message from residents involved was consistently to ask Drug Mart to build a smaller store that would fit on the parcel they bought. People should view this as a victory for the process, where the public spoke about something that was important to them and the "powers that be" listened. We plan to engage the city and Drug Mart so that we can be part of a creative solution that will bring their development to our neighborhood and we can all benefit from it.
Carl Roloff July 07, 2012 at 07:23 PM
And Ian, it sounds like you're misinformed about the economic condition of our neighborhood. It is just as vibrant now as it has been. There's a new garden center right across the street on what used to be an unused lot, the rebuilt Garfield School of course, Peppers restaurant now has outdoor dining down the street, and there's a Family Dollar development going at the end of Grace, on the corner opposite the proposed Drug Mart. The only "vibrant business area" we're now missing is the poorly-trafficked Ganley dealership, which took up both corners of Grace Ave.
xv July 07, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Ian it easy to sit back and make comment. Have you been involved by attending planning commission meetings 6:30 to midnite? Are you even aware that a fair amount of information reported in this artical is inaccurate? For example DM is proposing a 28,000 sqf building, they have purchased the appartment building and evicted everyone from the 11 units all before having an approved plan. The residents of Cohassett and Grace welcome the development of the Ganley site, but the project must fit into the commercial foot print and the one approved conditional use residential property. There is a Family Dollar store being built on the old westside of the Ganley dealership which is on the cornner of Grace and Detroit. This project went forward becuse it fit the commercial lot footprint, in my opinion Lakewood needed another dollar store like another vacant store front. The Planning commission has a very difficult job. You should be ashamed of yourself for criticizing them, but then again everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is just when it is a uninformed one it is sad. @ concerned residents Easy to criticize and hide
Mark Buckley July 07, 2012 at 08:04 PM
"Concerned Resident" , I'm confused aren't we having a "Top Secret " meeting at your house tonight? I'll bring my de-coder ring. Same password?
ian king July 07, 2012 at 09:31 PM
hi all - i concur with the comments made by 'concerned residents'. Shape the PR comments how you want, but the small group of very vocal activists from the grace avenue area are far from being a pro-development/pro- business growth group. this is so obvious a classic BSchool case of NIMBY agenda/approach to urban living/planning. so i continue to view lakewood, which i really enjoy, though reality glass, not rose colored ones, and unfortunately have to accept the tough new realities of lakewood as a struggling city today. most businesses would not say their business income is "as vibrant now as it has been." this is just not the reality of the business owners i know in lakewood. they only wish more would shop local and not go to crocker park of westgate or north olmsted to shop. i challenge you to walk down madison, walk down detroit, and walk down clifton - count the number of empty lots and business storefronts and i know that there are more empties than occupied - i did this last summer and was shocked at how much of the business districts of lakewood are in serious decline. lets hope that drug mart will continue to build new and fresh on the ganley lot - so many tax paying citizens of lakewood want this to happen, and yesterday is not soon enough!
xv July 07, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Ian you make comments as if you were involved with this whole process, so I don't see where you added your name to the email list or the Facebook page. If you live on Grace, Cohassett or Clarence you would have received a flyer on your door inviting you to all the meetings. There was one small meeting by the request of DM that did not include the whole group, but if you would have attended the last group meeting at Sullivan's you would have received a copy of the 15 items discussed which were the concerns of the collective group involved So again you speak from an uninformed position.
Mark Buckley July 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Mr. King: You called my house and left a message saying: "I am Concerned Citizen's Husband. We are worried about you well-organized Lakewood citizens and we'll be calling back." I do not know who you are; we have never met. I do not appreciate the call to my home. Please do not call again.
Dennis Runkle July 08, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Kudos to the organized neighbors on Grace and Cohasset for the passionate and rational presentations on a development project which doesn't have the best interests of the community at the forefront. On Grace we unfortunately lost 11 neighbors due to pre-emptive evictions of the residents of the apartment bldg.
xv July 08, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Ian as you seem to make comments only, and never respond to the questions, and as you stated in a past postings " you only recently moved to Lakewood" you have really no idea of the historical significance of the neighborhoods. In the past you have talk about bringing big box retail to Lakewood, that clearly demonstrates your lack of knowledge or understand on what's really involved. Lakewood does not have a parcel of land that could accommodate such a project. Did you really call Mr. Buckley and leave that message, I sure hope Mr. Buckley saved it and passes it along to Lakewoods finest.
ian king July 08, 2012 at 01:45 PM
to mr. buckley, say what? it seems the responses to important questions about lakewood's future have now turned to personally attacking me and my comments on this site. so to mr. buckley, i don't know who called you and left you messages, but it was certainly not me or any member of my family. sorry to hear someone is impersonating me, but i guess when one becomes public with their viewpoints there is always that possibility. i have no desire to personally contact anyone who i have never met in my life.
ian king July 08, 2012 at 01:48 PM
to mr. buckley, say what? it seems the responses to important questions about lakewood's future have now turned to personally attacking me and my comments on this site. so to mr. buckley, i don't know who called you and left you messages, but it was certainly not me or any member of my family. sorry to hear someone is impersonating me, but i guess when one becomes public with their viewpoints there is always that possibility. i have no desire to personally contact anyone who i have never met in my life.
ian king July 08, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Peter - i think you are mistaken. i have never really supported the big box approach to business salvation, but no one can deny that lakewood needs more tax dollars today. lakewood has among the highest in taxes in ne ohio, but a recent study revealed that lakewood schools had dropped in rankings, and our sidewalks and many streets are falling apart, plus lots of crime on the rise in east lakewood. combine that with an aging population and recent declines in population, reduced public transit on the weekends, and a housing stock that has seen better days, well, a lot of creative business development/thought is needed just for lakewood to remain competitive with other area towns. times change and lakewood needs to change with the hard realities of life that now exist in ne ohio - regardless of its glory day in the historical past.
ian king July 08, 2012 at 02:12 PM
ok, regarding "vibrant business areas" of lakewood - carl, can you inform me as to why does lakewood allow the CITY CENTER shopping center to not repair or replace that really ugly watch tower that is above Chipotle? it just looks really bad from any view, with big circles for clocks, but no clocks! i recently had friends visit and though they liked a lot of lakewood, they couldn't understand why the center of downtown looked so rundown in some areas, and really nice in others! also, lets either repaint the huge flag mural on the building by City Center Park or come up with a new mural. it is looking really bad these days and as one drives/walks down detroit and sees a peeling image of the flag, well it is just not right!
Mark Buckley July 08, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Peter, The message is on our answering machine and has been saved. The person who left the message claimed to be Mr. King.
Colin McEwen July 08, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Let's stay on point, folks. Mark, it looks like you've been pranked — as Ian says he didn't call you. Here's hoping we can keep this thing civil.
Mark Buckley July 08, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Colin, I did not realize I was being uncivil by requesting that the man who identified himself as Ian King not call my home again. The call was an inappropriate response to public discourse. It may sound like a prank to you, but did not sound like a prank to me or anyone else who has heard the message.
Anthony Lima July 08, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Ian: You claim “no one can deny Lakewood needs more tax dollars today.” Moving a store from one Lakewood location to another does not result in greater tax income. I understand Lakewood is desperate for development but the only recent development here has been the demolition of a church to make room for a CVS (which moved from one Lakewood location to another) and the destruction of a movie theater to make room for a McDonald’s with a drive-thru. If Lakewood truly fancies itself a city with “vision”, fast-food restaurants with drive-thru service is not progressive development “vision”. Even Wal-Mart (the behemoth that has ruined many small businesses) has taken an approach to smaller facilities to fit their stores into urban areas. DrugMart can do the same. The city has spent a lot of time and money identifying the so-called areas along Detroit Avenue. The stretch from Bunts east to Alameda is technically identified as the “Garfield District”. It is NOT ‘downtown’ Lakewood – which is Bunts west to Arthur. The reason the city spent time and money to identify the areas along Detroit is to preserve the commercial AND residential character of some of these areas. I’m proud of myself and my neighbors for standing side by side to protect our streets. What is one small step for the residents of Cohassett and Grace avenues is one giant leap for residents of all Lakewood streets that want to protect the integrity of their neighborhoods. – Anthony Lima
Cathy Spicer July 08, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I think the Patch article is a little off-point. I don't think anyone is against development on that site. There were just a couple of things about the Drug Mart Development proposal that just didn't sit well with me. If I owned the adjacent property and was told that they wanted 13-20 ft of my yard, I would take great exception to that. The planning commission had some very difficult decisions to work thru & I don't envy them that task. None of us wants to see a rotting building at the end of the block, so my hope is that Drug Mart will revise their plan for the lot they purchased and can move forward. I think the CVS store at Arthur and Detroit is an example to consider - that store fits within the footprint of the lot that was purchased, and the store is an appropriate scale for the neighborhood. It's not a NIMBY objection that I had (along with many of my neighbors). It was the push to acquire residential property to convert into accessory parking, pushing the store beyond the commercially zoned lot. I bought my house in Lakewood and am in it for the long haul, so I have a vested interest in what happens in my back yard and attended last week's meeting (all 4-1/2 hours of it) with rapt attention. I listened carefully to Mr. Siley's comments, the Drug Mart representatives and the extensive public commentary and applaud the planning commission for carefully considering those decisions. I believe that Drug Mart can bring a revised proposal forward and hope that they will.
Colin McEwen July 08, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Good call, Cathy. Thanks for sharing.
Another Concerned Resident July 12, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I don't understand why some residents are opposed to a parking area where the apartment building sits. As long as consideration for the plan includes landscaping & fencing that pulls into the beautiful architecture of the surrounding homes, what is the issue??? Anyone that refers to that oversized mishmash of brick that stands there now as beautiful archtecture must be blind. That building is an eyesore and always has been. There isn't even any historical value there. It's just an ugly non-descript building. Maybe this is some peoples way of pretending that what goes on in the vacant Ganley building late at night isn't really happening. Out of sight, out of mind. That apartment building does make good blinders against the derelicts and drug dealing that goes on there in the dead of night just a few doors away. Wise up people, You haven't convinced me that an abandoned building is a better choice than a Drug Mart sitting across from a school either. We all know how kids like to explore taboo places & I would not want my child walking past the old Ganley building as it stands. You never know what kind of predator might be waiting for the right opportunity and I would not want to find out the hard way. Another concerned resident.
xv July 16, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Another concerned resident. Wow have you ever even been to the property? The architecture that is talked about is the apartment building and the historic homes.

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