Walgreens tries again in Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Walgreens tries again in Steamboat

Store proposal goes before Planning Commission tonight

— A proposal for a Walgreens store at the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Pine Grove Road heads to the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission tonight.

The store would be built across Pine Grove Road from Staples. Co-developer Brian Olson said in November that he and partner Rod Forrester would like to break ground in March and see the store open by October.

However, they go to the PlanĀ­ning Commission without a favorable recommendation from city planning staff.

In his recommendation for denial to the Planning ComĀ­mission, senior city planner Bob Keenan wrote that the application is not consistent with city development code for land use, nor with design standards that deal with the way the proposed 16,450-square-foot building addresses the corner of U.S. Highway 40 and the architectural elements of its roofline. Keenan also wrote in his report that although the proposal includes a transit-friendly design, it falls short of including pedestrian improvements that would promote a "walkable community."

The developers are seeking variances from city planning standards that would allow them to delay building sidewalks associated with a second adjacent lot until that site is developed. City staff is recommending that because the need for pedestrian connectivity already exists in the area, it wouldn't be advisable to require a sidewalk for the Walgreens store but not connect it beyond the lot line.

Olson said Wednesday that he has gone to considerable lengths to fit the city's urban design guidelines for the U.S. 40 corridor, including persuading Walgreens to add a second story to reduce the footprint of the building.

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However, Walgreen's company-wide insistence on a drive-through pharmacy window created a challenge in meeting the city's goal of having the corner of the building address the intersection.

"The city didn't want parking adjacent to the highway, so we don't have it, but we have to have traffic circulation for the drive-through," Olson said. "Without it, Walgreen's is not coming."

A different developer sought to gain approval for a Walgreens in Steamboat in 2005 but withdrew the application.

Tonight's public hearing is a two-step process for a preliminary plat approval and a discussion of the developers' simultaneous applications for development and final development permits.

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