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Planning Commission Tables Vote on Proposed Drug Mart

New plans show smaller store, with fewer parking spaces, but neighbors say they need more time to review the plans.

Architects and officials representing to the city’s planning commission Thursday night, in hopes of finding common ground with neighbors. 

But residents — who had less than a day to review the new plans — were less than thrilled.

The was listening. 

The commission tabled a decision on a request that would consolidate the property and change the south parcels from residential to commercially zoned properties. 

Drug Mart officials presented redesigned site plans, that included reducing the size of the store from 28,000 square feet to 24,000 square feet, taking away 12 parking spaces and scrapping plans to demolish a 100-year-old home abutting the proposed store.

However, developers would still raze an 11-unit apartment building standing in the way of the development. The tenants have already received their eviction notices.

Tim Moran, the construction and development manager for , said that the store needs a larger space than its 19,000 square feet space at 11900 Detroit Avenue to include a new grocery service. 

“Our mission is delivery a quality shopping experience,” he said, adding that the new store would add as many as 10 new jobs. “In order to do all of this we need a 25,000-square-foot footprint.”

Most of the nearly two-dozen residents who spoke at the meeting weren’t buying it. 

The expressed concerns about traffic, noise, pollution and — with across the street — safety.

Colleen Cotter, who lives two doors down south of the proposed plans, said most of the neighbors aren’t against .

“In fact, we’ve been a little lonely since Ganley left,” she said.  “Our concern is the additional space. It becomes a much bigger commercial enterprise in a residential neighborhood. There is a line.”

She also noted some concern that residents only received the plans a day before the meeting.

“Be careful of turning over residential properties for commercial use,” Cotter warned the commission. “It looks great, but you can’t get rid of things like light and noise and exhaust from delivery trucks.” 

Another neighbor said she supports the project — top to bottom.

“The lot that abuts mine has always been used for trucks and delivery,” she said, noting that she’s happy the site will no longer be vacant. “Since Drug Mart has taken over the property, they’ve at least taken care of the landscaping.”

The commission voted to discuss the issue again at its July meeting. However, the issue will come again before the city next week, when Drug Mart will present the building’s designs at the architectural board of review meeting next Thursday.

chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 12:00 PM
here is what i say to all the people who do not want this....make a decision...A) protest this, do not allow anything to be built there at all, leave the empty buildings in place. eventually, homeless people and crack addicts will take residence as squatters..this should help increase your property values or B) Wait patiently until the perfect enterprise comes along, one that will have the most perfect fit for your needs, one that increases your poperty value and will be a responsible neighbor to all, shall we call this the "nirvana effect"....or C) accept the fact that there is a multi-million dollar company that wants to come into lakewood, design and construct a building that fits into the style of our city's architecture, is going to provide jobs, taxes to the city and its people, will take the place of a defunct business and provide a service that is proven to be needed in our city......the choice is yours , of course
xv June 08, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Wow Chris perhaps if you actually were informed on this subject your comment would be appreciated. DrugMart is moving their store from 11900 Detroit Avenue. Jobs are here already, in fact the security guard at their current location will lose his job. He will be replaced with 30 plus cameras. The residents are not against the plan of a new DrugMart. What we are asking for, is that they not be allowed to tear down an apartment building and an additional house. Build on the existing commercial property. Colin FYI the original building plan called for 28,290 total S.F. the revised plan are 28,188 S.F. They have reduced parking from 92 to 82. They are only required to have 70 spaces.
Mark Buckley June 08, 2012 at 01:36 PM
There were many compelling arguments last night against Drug Mart expanding it's footprint onto residential lots on Grace. But what really struck me was that the Isomer Development Group ( Drug Mart's developer ), was so sure that they would be granted Conditional Use, that two month's ago they started to evict tenants from the 11-unit apartment building on Grace. Most of these tenants on disability, many of these tenants veterans, all of them our good neighbors. I hope that city officials are as troubled by this as I am.
maggie j robinson June 08, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I think that the city of Lakewood, Dru Siley and others, are all actively involved with the community. They want reasonable plans that enhance the city as best as they can, with the idea of "highest and best" use of land and resources. And with guidance and responsibility, this project will continue. I am somewhat emotional over the apartment building as I spent 8 years of my early adulthood happily ensconced in that building. Maggie Robinson, Howard Hanna Lakewood
Alexandra June 10, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I work there, we NEED a new store! I do not mind the scaled back plans and I totally understand the residents concerns. I hate to see any 100 year old home taken down, as I live in 1 myself. I agree with Chris' comments and with in the article comments about lack of activity at Ganley. I am tired of the unused land by me left from the old Motorcars used car lot and the torn down Fairchild dealership. This side has had many more issues since they left. We need a new thriving business down here( rather it was not Applebee's) however it WILL drive criminally minded people away. also I have 2 children that attend Garfield and I like the idea knowing they can stop by, get some fresh veggies and see me in the pharmacy on the way home. Drug Mart does want to do right by the community and HAS been here a long time. It wants to be part of the revitalization of the city. A new store, of an already established, solid, locally owned company, that will increase tax revenue to the city is a positive move for Lakewood...it is a "win/ win".
Alexandra June 10, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Maybe The Shore could expand and build a new, bigger place on the corner of Hopkins. It is VERY popular and usually crowded. I would welcome their expansion.
Alexandra June 10, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Or a new place to replace Doughboys..
Mark Buckley June 11, 2012 at 03:45 PM
The Isomer Development Group ( Drug Marts developer ) were so sure they would be granted Conditional Use that 2 months ago they started eviction on our neighbors in the 11-unit apartment building located on Grace. Most of these tenants are on disability, many of these tenants are veterans all of them are our neighbors.
ian king June 26, 2012 at 12:34 AM
having recently moved to lakewood, it amazes how many citizens here do not realize the decline this city is experiencing on all levels, particularly the empty storefronts and empty parking lots on both detroit and madison. also, the area for several blocks around 117th street is turning rapidly into substandard housing with many safety issues at all hours of the day. times have dramatically changed in lakewood - this is a city on the verge of becoming more and more destitute. citizens here need to wake up to the economic realities and declining population of lakewood which is matching its decline in housing maintenance also. drive down clifton and see many homes not being well maintained. so be very very lucky that drug mart wants to build new here and welcome them to the hood. or maybe the citizens of lakewood believe in their own hype/PR, but not the visual realities of life in this declining city.
Mark Buckley June 26, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Ian, Drug Mart is more than welcome if they stick to the commercially zoned lot on Detroit. In case you haven't heard they have bought and evicted an entire apartment building (residentially zoned) on Grace so that they can raze it to the ground . They want a chunk of another residentially zoned property on Grace, again to accomodate a parking lot. This proposal was misbegotten from the start and no one had the integrity to step back and say this doesn't fit the existing commercial footprint.
Wm. Fraunfelder June 26, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Mr. King, as a recent transplant to our fair city, what are you using as a benchmark to substantiate your claims/hype/PR that ours is a city in-decline, destitute, and "a hood?" Are you a homeowner, facing difficult times and re-prioritizing other needs above home maintenance? What well-kept "Pleasantville" should we all be aspiring to mimic? What ethnic group/minority/social class/religious sect should we all be fleeing from? I believe we are all well-aware of the difficult economic circumstances that the City must deal with on a daily basis, but when residents seek to exercise their rights as neighbors and taxpayers and challenge absentee commercialism, your derision is misplaced and best suited to be aimed elsewhere. Thanks for contributing to the problem, rather than formulating part of the solution.
ian king June 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM
mr. fraunfelder and mr. buckley - i think your responses are exactly what i experience in NE Ohio - an avoidance of the real economics of the area. there are hundreds of apts in lakewood. so eviction/demolition of one/two buildings is not really a problem for tenants. inconvenient yes, but new housing is easy to find. regarding residents' rights; it seems the opposition to drug mart is more about one block or two of angry home owners, rather than opposition from most lakewood residents. regarding the existing commercial footprints of lakewood - most are full of broken sidewalks, unattractive empty storefronts, littered empty parking lots, etc. again, i like lakewood, but lets get real about what truly exists when you walk or drive down the streets of this town. the existing commercial footprint is depressing, and there is no visual congruence on most streetscapes. so, would the neighbors of grace really prefer an empty car lot/falling down buildings to a nice new drug mart? in this economy, the solution is easy: lakewood must support ANY and ALL businesses that WANT to build in lakewood today. it is very rare and will only get rarer if the citizens of lakewood selfishly block new development in this town. the new drug mart design is much more attractive than most buildings in that area of detroit. so the question is: support new development lakewood or continue to encourage businesses to move to westlake. that is the harsh, but true realities facing lakewood today.
ian king June 28, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Also, regarding the visual/streetscape of new projects like Drug Mart - google DAN BURDEN. He is a nationally recognized expert on making cities more sustainable, liveable and walkable, and evolve into want to live there/want to work there destinations. In his career he has consulted with over 3000 cities to help improve their visual attractiveness with limited economic resources. Maybe Lakewood should have him visit! His website is: www.walklive.org and also check out the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute - a recognized leader in helping cities rethink their future from a sustainable/smart growth perspective and strategy. Both of these sustainable authorities would approve of the new CVS on Detroit. And I think, with recent Drug Mart design changes, connecting with the guidelines of Burden/WLCL could be helpful.

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