Customers of Kent's CVS can look forward to not getting out of their car to pick up their prescriptions in the future.
The Kent Planning Commission approved a $4 million expansion project for the pharmacy chain Tuesday night that will see the existing building demolished and rebuilt larger with a drive-thru pharmacy at the same location on the corner of South Water and Summit streets.
The commission approved the project plans with several conditions, including two added Tuesday, that largely came out of a discussion on the plans in June. Several conditions are merely technical, but the two raised last night were meant to improve safety for pedestrians and drivers.
Lakewood-based Zaremba Group, which is designing the new building for CVS, must "clip" or put an angle on the southwest corner of the building of about 8 feet to improve visibility for drivers pulling out of the lot onto the alley and vice-a-versa.
Commission member Peter Paino said he couldn't approve the plans without changing that corner to improve visibility.
Mary Wervey, a designer from Zaremba Group, said they discussed a similar cut-in to the floor plan for another CVS rebuild of 8 feet for a similar reason. She said they would review it with CVS and return to the city if the pharmacy chain has a problem with the idea.
The second condition raised Tuesday had to do with accenting the front entrance.
Paino and Kent Planning Commission chair Sean Kaine suggested they change the sidewalk material to signify the entrance for motorists and pedestrians.
"To say 'here's my front door,'" Paino said.
"Some kind of stamped concrete in that area, I could do that no problem," Wervey said.
Plans submitted by CVS to the city in April show demolition of the existing 10,810-square-foot store to build a new store with 13,600 square feet. Sixty-six parking spaces are proposed in the plans approved Tuesday.
A large change to the site plan moves the building 40 feet closer to South Water Street than original plans showed. That move — achieved by moving a row of parking to the north side of the building — came at the request of the planning commission in June.
Both commission members Melissa Long and John Gargan thanked the designers for listening to the commission on that request.
"I like this better than the first site plan we reviewed," commission member Anthony Catalano said of the plans approved Tuesday.
To make the project happen, CVS plans to buy and raze two properties west of the store on Summit Street. The properties are 120 W. Summit St., owned by Mark J. Yohe, and 126 W. Summit St., which is owned by Robert Roe and Patricia Loretta, according to Portage County Auditor's Office records.
The company already has purchase agreements for the properties, according to a cover letter for the plans from the Zaremba Group.
The commission did not address its primary concern raised in June about the exterior facade of the building. Some members of the commission said they wanted to see less of the franchise design and a facade that fits more with downtown Kent's architecture.
However, Kent's architecture review board did have a second look at the project before Tuesday's meeting, and the architecture board did approve the plans.
Glen Dreyer, chairman of the architectural review board, added that the approval "was without a lot of enthusiasm."