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Posted: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 12:00AM

St. Joseph City Commission Holds Off For Now On CVS Proposal

Plans to bring a CVS pharmacy into St. Joseph remain in a holding pattern. The St. Joseph City Commission tabled a vote on a Planned Unit Development for the pharmacy to build on the Florin Funeral Home site at Niles and Napier. Mayor Pro Tem Fran Chickering noted that while the discussion has been ongoing before the Planning Commission since March, last night was the first time the City Commission had their chance to discuss the idea.


Attorney Mark Miller represents the developers and said he wasn't disappointed by the commission asking for more changes and more time to discuss the plans.


Neighbors have put up a fight for months, arguing a national pharmacy chain will create too much traffic, cut down on open space, bring extra noise, and doesn't fit the look of the area. Changing to a brick building was one suggestion floated, with the CVS location in Chelsea, near Ann Arbor, cited as the example. Rick Stobbelaar lives on Myrtle Avenue right near where the CVS is proposed, and told commissioners that the current design doesn't fit in their neighborhood.


Commissioners Jeff Richards and Mary Goff both indicated that if some changes are made to the plans, they may be willing to support it as they did with Silver Beach Pizza earlier this summer. Richards called it the most contentious issue he's seen in his 30 years on the city commission, and there were a few tense moments during Monday's public hearing. One involved Richards, as he took issue with St. Joseph resident David Snyder calling out the city attorney by name as Snyder started laying out his opposition.


The public hearing lasted roughly three hours of the Monday night meeting, with relatively few new details brought forth that hadn't already been discussed before the Planning Commission on several occasions. The vast majority of the standing-room-only crowd was there to voice their opposition, applauding often when points were made against the CVS development plan. The city commission is preparing a list of changes they would like to see made to the plans.


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