Zoning Board Debates Worcester Street CVS Location
The proposed CVS Pharmacy on Worcester Street saw opposition from neighbors, ZBA comments.
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) heard the case of the CVS Pharmacy proposed on Worcester Street, presented by Attorney Brian Levey, and Senior Project Engineer Brian Murphy and Project Manager Patrick Dunford of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, inc.
As it stands, the site is run down, with the rear of the property actually eroding into Vogel brook. There was an auto dealer and a gas station here once, but even the gas storage tanks are gone because they began leaking. Along with the construction of a CVS, and considerable landscaping, the project also provides for the removal of dumped car parts and other trash in the wetlands area.
"CVS doesn't want to put money in this and have it look like a dump," Murphy noted, when asked about maintenance of the wetlands.
There are, in fact, two plans being considered by the ZBA: one includes what is called a "splitter island," the other does not. This small concrete island sits at the mouth of the parking lot exit, blocking traffic from crossing straight over to Overbrook Drive--forcing cars to turn left or right onto Route 9. Otherwise the plans are identical.
"I urge you not to approve the plan without the splitter island," said Dr. Lisa Brown of 98 Beechwood drive. She added, "I'd rather you not approve any plan."
Dunford explained that this may be out of their hands, "We have to adhere, ultimately, to what they [Mass DOT] want us to do."
One of the proposed features of this CVS is a pharmacy drive-through window, a feature Dunford described as "popular" at other CVS locations. The two-lane prescription pick-up window has an inner lane serviced by a drive-up window, and an outer lane serviced by a pneumatic tube.
"I had a concern about the drive-though all along," Dean Behrend, developer of the neighboring land at 978 Worcester St, explained. Seeing the plans included two-lane two lanes for the pick-up window, his concern is that this will encourage a large volume of customers through that drive through.
To block out light from late-night drive-through customers, the plan included a fence. It was initially a stockade fence, but the Design Review Board suggested the lighter look and feel of the shadow box fence style.
This style will, however, let some light pass through when cars pass at an angle. The light won't hit the residential building Behrend is planning next door, but may shine through onto a proposed restaurant space.
"I'm not happy with just a fence there," commented ZBA chair Richard Seegel. He suggested some type of plant screening be placed in addition to the fence, as this fence is directly between the CVS and the neighboring housing.
Some neighbors simply don't see the need for a CVS in this part of the town. Andrew Schneider of 20 Beechwood rd feels, "They're building a CVS that fits their business model, rather than a CVS that fits our community."
"It's [a CVS] for other communities, not for Wellesley," agreed Suzanne Palacino of Beechwood road.
The Board has an outstanding issue with the lessor of the property as well.
"I was shocked, when I drove to this site over the weekend, to see vehicles parked on the property without permits," Seegel directed at Levey. The trucks Seegel refers to are for a junk collection service, and are acting as signs, according to the Board's judgement. The Board's attempts to contact the land owner by mail and phone have garnered no response.
"This Board will not issue any special permits while the site is non-compliant," Seegel added. The hearing continues to the Oct 21 ZBA meeting.