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Questions, Concerns Over New Drug Mart Proposal

About 50 residents attended a community forum to learn more about the new developments on Detroit Avenue.

What about an increase in traffic? What about the project’s proximity to ? What happens if is a bad neighbor?

Those were among the questions from residents attending a forum on Wednesday to discuss the t at the site of the former Ganley auto dealership on Detroit Avenue. 

Hosted by the city, a crowd of about 50 people attended the community forum.

The company — 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 on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be a traffic nightmare,” said one resident.

Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, pointed out that following the city’s , a traffic study would be required should Drug Mart seek a drive-thru.

Not everyone opposed the project. 

“It sounds like everybody is adamantly opposed,” said a resident who lives near the proposed development. “I want to remain open because it’s not plus for me to live next door to this … Maybe this isn’t perfect, but I am asking for some consideration.”

There are still a couple of hurdles ahead for the drug store chain.

The first is a proposal for a conditional use permit for a zoning change and a lot consolidation at the former Ganley site. The city’s planning commission will consider those motions on June 7. 

The following week, on June 14, the city’s architectural board of review will examine the company’s design plans. 

Earlier this year,  on the adjacent property across Grace Avenue.

“I appreciate so many resident from Grace and Cohassett attending and asking very good questions,” said Siley. “They are obviously very proud of their neighborhood and have every right to be. Our responsibility is to make sure that this project — as any project in Lakewood — is built with the highest quality.”

Annie Caswell May 18, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I live next door to the "vacant house" that DrugMart plans to demolish for parking and drainage. I am very unhappy about the proposal to destroy the apartment building and the 113 year old home. This is wrong. I understand that the land adjacent to Detroit is zoned commercial, but this proposal is encroachment into our residential neighborhood. I agree with my neighbors that traffic and safety are real concerns. Further, I think this shows the lack of vision for city planning. We will have a Family Dollar and a DrugMart on the 2 corners at the north end of Grace. There is a Family Dollar on Madison and more drug and discount stores in Lakewood than I can name. What about the city's dedication to its citizens and small business??? I am further bothered by Dru Siley's last quote in this article. I hope that he was misquoted. I think he sums up the city's position on commercial development-- "our responsibility is to make sure that this project...is built with the highest quality." I think they have more of a responsibility than that!!!
David Gaking May 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I think this project is a great Idea. The Ganley property is such a eye sore I have to squint when I drive by. Its great to see a company like drug mart want to be in our community. The drug mart further east is a ugly property. Detroit has so many vacant buildings. Wish we could demolish them and start from scratch. These old buildings seem to attract undesirable tenants who cant afford to maintain them properly. David Gaking
The original Bill May 18, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Annie does have a valid point. I have seen other instances in Lakewood where developers have torn down a house or two for a project and turned a property that had a buffer of one or two houses into one right next to it. They did it for Sullivans and the Bank at the corner of Madison & Warren. I am all for new development but this encroachment shouldn't be allowed to happen.
Mark Buckley May 18, 2012 at 03:50 PM
The franchising of Detroit by the city although unfortunate is fair play. The franchising of residential streets should and must be stopped. The city should not be allowed to tear down residential properties to accommodate commercial interests. This is not a Grace issue - this is a city wide issue. Anybody's street could be next. Mark Buckley
Michael Ciccarello May 19, 2012 at 01:25 AM
The role of the city should seemingly take into account, the needs and concerns of neighborhood residents that can be potentially impacted in a negative way. Whether a Drug Mart and Family Dollar being developed as "commercial neighbors" makes sense, versus other potential commercial businesses, is a matter of opinion and open for discussion. But that is what is needed, engaging residents prior to the stage that residents are currently brought into the discussion, i.e., hi folks, here is what is coming to your neighborhood, do you like the design/plans? There will never be complete agreement, but engaging the community residents allows the city's planners to understand what could be best for a given neighborhood. Finally, encroaching on a residential neighborhood (acquiring adjacent residential property to become part of a commercial development project) is simply wrong. Michael Ciccarello
Peter Grossetti May 19, 2012 at 02:03 AM
So ... I guess if a Pottery Barn or Williams-Sonoma or Prada Shoppe went in there we'd be all set!!
Mark Buckley May 19, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Mr. Grossetti the issue isn't Williams-Sonama or Drug Mart.. Although I suspect that Williams-Sonama is not open from 6am till Midnight which is the proposed hours for this Drug Mart. The issue is the destruction of two residential properties on Grace. The issue is the encroachment on Grace. There are of course other issues such as traffic ( there is a middle school across the street) . Curiously Dru Siley said that he would not be asking for a traffic study.
Steve May 19, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The city ran out of money for traffic studies, next Question?
Michael Ciccarello May 20, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Actually Peter, I was thinking more along the lines of a neighborhood deli that specialized in healthy and organic dishes, promoting wellness to area residents, Garfield Middle School students and parents. Perhaps even seeking interaction from and involvement from Lakewood residents in preparing healthy dishes, a sort of coop if you will. Or, possibly a bike shop. It used to be an auto dealer, promote alternative transportation in and around the city. And I'm sure a wealth of additional ideas would be suggested if the city would have held a strategic planning process that engaged the residents. So, I'm guessing (wildly of course) that looking for big box business that only flock together at the mega malls like Crocker Park and Legacy Village isn't what folks had in mind. And to reiterate Mr. Buckley, one real disconcerting matter (that should raise the flag for all Lakewood residents) is the apparent ease for any business to privately purchase residential property, then roll the property into their commercial development plans.
xv May 21, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Traffic is already a problem around Garfield school. Now we are adding a Family Dollar store and proposing a DrugMart directly across the street from the school. Traffic is already restricted in this area, with the increased traffic, the safety of our children should be the real concern.
Darrin Gaking May 31, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Indeed. Traffic will be a major problem. I am all for improving the existing run down property but the plan should consider the safety of children who have to walk through the area to get to and from school. I support the homeowners who may be forced to deal with their property ajoined with commercial property which was not zoned as such when they purchased it. It doesn't appear there will be sufficient green space for Drug Mart to be a good neighbor. I signed a petition against the proposal because these issues have not been addressed.
Mark Buckley May 31, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Mr. Gaking I agree. The practice of changing zoning on a residential street to accomodate commercial encroachment should send a very loud alarm to any homeowner who lives off Detroit or Madison. This is a betrayal to those of us on Grace and it is a future threat to the next street that Mr. Siley choses to sell out.
Kevin June 19, 2012 at 02:51 AM
If Lakewood, the residents and the developer want a win win then they need to blend the lots and close off Grace to Detroit. The dead-end street immediately adds property value for everyone, the developers get added property and the city gets added revenue. It's time to think out of the box.

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