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New Discount Drug Mart Approved on Detroit Avenue

The meeting lasted nearly five hours, but the drug store chain was granted its appeal, and then the new proposal was approved.

After , new plans for a on Detroit Avenue were submitted to the for a rehearing.

After the rehearing was granted Thursday, the new plans were approved after a nearly five-hour marathon meeting at city hall.

With the commission’s OK, the drug store chain will demolish the apartment building that it owns adjacent to the property, but the space won't be used for parking, according to the revised proposal.

The new plan is scaled down to 72 parking spaces — down from 94 originally proposed. 

In addition, Drug Mart pulled its request to take the 13.5 feet from the neighboring home at 1425 Grace Avenue, but the company will take a portion of the northwest corner of that property. 

The plan also includes a 15-feet-wide sidewalk along Cohasset Avenue. The original plans called for a sidewalk that was only 10 feet wide.

With a 5-1 vote, the commission approved a lot-split and consolidation, and unanimously OK’d a conditional-use permit for accessory parking as well as a permit for a drive-thru.

Commission member Ruth Gillett voted against the lot consolidation, as well as Discount Drug Mart’s request for a rehearing.

Kurt Schmitz of Lakewood-based went through the city’s zoning code — item-by-item — outlining why the $5 million project was positive for the city.

He also presented a slideshow hoping to address some of the neighbors’ concerns.

“This is a good project for Lakewood, and it’s a good project for Grace and Cohassett,” he said.

Not all the neighbors agreed.

Many of them still opposed the project — even with the revisions.

Cathy Birt, a resident of Grace Avenue, said she’s opposed the project from the beginning.

“I don’t want it at all,” she said. “It’s just not good for the street. I realized when I moved to Lakewood 24 years ago that it doesn’t really matter if you live on the West End or the East End. It really matters what street you live on, and Grace, Cohassett and Clarence are nice streets. We’ve all worked really hard to keep our homes nice, and I think it will all go away.”

When the meeting ended just past 11:30 p.m., there were still about 40 people in the audience in the crowded Lakewood City Auditorium.

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

There, the company plans to expand its grocery options, among other plans.

Tom McConnell, CEO of Discount Drug Mart, addressed the commission as well as residents. 

“Discount Drug Mart has been depicted as a big corporation that doesn’t know or understand Lakewood,” he said, before listing a number of the company's good deeds in Lakewood.

“That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

McConnell, who grew up in Lakewood, said that Drug Mart has had a presence in Lakewood for most of the company’s 45-year history. 

“The city is working hard to transform Detroit Avenue, and have done a great job,” he said. “I think this is a good part of that." 

Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said recently that the company has “made a number of revisions over the past three months.”

“Some of those changes are a direct result of comments and concerns from the neighbors,” he said. “And I think the project has gotten better over time because of their input.”

ian king August 08, 2012 at 10:58 PM
HI Peter! Well, I guess you didn't read my comments completely. Recommending a Dave's, or a Pei Wei, or even an Applebee's would be great for the East Side, but not I am not limited just to that area. ANYWHERE in Lakewood would be great! Not far from Grace sits an empty grocery store across from Giant Eagle on Detroit. What about a Trader Joe's there or a Dave's Market? I guess I would still call that in the Grace Ave hood as it is just a bus stop away or so. And easily walkable too from Grace and Detroit. And what about the delayed at least 5 years Rockport Square? How long will the city let that eyesour occupy both sides of Detroit? Can't the city start some legal action on that owner? Could easily be one side Pei Wei, other side Dave's Market! And yes Peter, now that you so "kindly" ask, I can easily offer 3 Drug Mart revisions, but I am feeling generous today, and will offer you 4!: 1. reduction of original parking spaces 2. reduction of footage at 1425 Grace 3. expansion of Cohasset sidewalk 4. improved landscaping on lot. Again, I strongly believe any progress/development in Lakewood is to be supported as long as it is reviewed, commented upon, and approved by the elected officials that be. One can reminiscence about the glory days of Lakewood long past, but planning now in a great depression for the future of a very different Lakewood will not be easy. Our Mayor is to be complimented for encouraging economic growth amidst the disdain of a minor NIMBY group.
xv August 08, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Ian Giant Eagle has submitted plans for building a new Getgo at their old store location. Wow we actually agree on something Rockport Square and the city what's up with that project. Drug Mart did reduce the size by 120 sq ft. Parking was reduced because they were not allowed to tear 1425 house down. Sidewalk was increased from 10 feet to meet city code minimum offset. Landscape has actually been reduced but this will change again after the next ARB meeting. As far as NIMBY YOU ARE SO WRONG!
Christina Cocchiarale Ward August 09, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Ok maybe at the VERY VERY beginning of the building but again, an Applebee's was soon to move in. Phase 3 was on the south side is what I heard. That was to be the next they'd build as far as condos. In that lot with the big black fence Applebee's was a maybe years ago. Then no. Now it's a maybe again. They aren't building condos there. I heard this from my councilwoman that it was in the works abt a possible Applebee's.
Billy November 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Any business with the word "Discount" is NEVER a good thing for the area. That means lakewood is in a transition and focusing more to lower income households and cliental. If lakewood is trying to raise it's standard of living, then this is not a good move...A discount Drug Mart is definitely in conflict with the RockPort project..A trader Joes would make more sense..
ian king November 18, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Hi Billy - Not only is Lakewood in a transition, the entire NE Ohio area is losing population, experiencing reduced personal and property tax revenues, and seeing home values plummet. This is the reality of NE Ohio today. Until the area can come together and strategically plan to encourage new business growth, new population growth, and stop the home market declines, you will see more and more "Discount" lifestyle here. That is just the way it is. And Trader Joes now usually opens only in suburban upper middle income hoods, Lakewood definitely not qualifying. And the Rockport Project is a joke - I doubt if it will ever be built as it was marketed years ago.

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