WOBURN - CVS Pharmacy plans to move into the same South End premises on Main Street that will reportedly be vacated by major competitor Walgreen's Pharmacy.
Earlier this month, TMC New England LLC submitted a special permit application to open the CVS within a 15,028 square foot building at 175 Main St., a 2.95-acre shopping plaza by Fowle Street that also includes Busa Liquors and an AutoZone store.
The special permit request is being made as Walgreen's officials have announced they intend to shutter its South End storefront and relocate to the Woburn Center area at the Careway Wellness Center property by Hovey Street.
Earlier this week, members of the Special Permits Committee sent that proposal back to the full council for action. The City Council is expected to address both the Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy petitions next Tuesday, when the aldermen will meet in City Hall at 7 p.m.
Plans submitted at City Hall indicate that CVS Pharmacy intends to occupy the entirety of the Walgreen's building and create a new drive-through lane. The applicant intends to furnish 34 on-site parking spaces, which meets the underlying zoning district's minimum standard.
According to correspondence sent yesterday from CIty Planner Daniel Orr to the aldermen, the South End property falls within the neighborhood business (BN) zoning district, where the drive-through use is not permissible under existing city regulations.
The petitioner is apparently seeking the drive-through window under the premise that the existing Walgreen's Pharmacy constitutes a pre-existing, non-conforming use.
The City Council does often grant special permits for grandfathered business uses. However, before doing so, local officials have asked those petitioners to prove that the requested building and property modifications won't be more detrimental to the surrounding neighborhood.
Orr does acknowledge that absent that drive-through component, the petitioner's proposal to continue the pharmacy use is allowable by special permit.
"The property falls within a neighborhood business zoning district, thereby allowing the proposed continued use as a retail pharmacy," wrote Orr. "However, the application proposes to include a drive-up customer service facility, which is not an allowed use in a BN zoning district."
TMC New England is seeking a special permit for six reasons, including:
• To make alterations to a non-conforming retail structure;
• For the construction of a new drive-through window;
• For relief from zoning rules regarding minimum landscaping or green-space requirements;
• For the installation of a loading door in the stead of a loading dock/bay;
• To allow the use within a groundwater protection district;
• And for modifications to the building's non-conforming exterior signage.