ROCKLAND - The developer for Walgreens Pharmacy and the City Council are going to try again to work out a conditional rezoning plan to allow construction and operation of a pharmacy at Camden and Maverick streets.
In June, Kevin Bunker, consultant for Walgreens developer WAG Pharm Development LLC, submitted a revised plan that includes a 20-percent reduction in the size of the store, reducing the building from 14,500 square feet to 11,500 square feet, adding a mezzanine level of 2,500 square feet, and increasing the landscaped buffer area on the south side of the lot.
WAG Pharm, which has offered to spend $710,000 on road improvements near the project, has been facing criticism from members of the public about a large business encroaching on a residential neighborhood and from city officials about the size of the store as it was presented in the original plan submitted in April. Residents, mainly neighbors of the pharmacy site, expressed their opposition to the original proposal at several public comment periods.
The original conditional rezoning request for Ordinance Amendment No. 8 had undergone several tests and changes before a second and final reading and a scheduled City Council vote July 14.
The council at that time decided to send the revised application back through the review process and approved a first reading of the zoning requests for the new plan.
The City Council’ s action amended the zoning ordinance that would, if adopted, conditionally rezone five parcels at the southwest corner of the intersection of Maverick and Camden streets to allow the pharmacy.
New amendments included 46 parking spaces in the lot adjacent to the proposed store, setting a limit of 11,500 square feet for the building’ s footprint, increasing the landscaped buffers, and setting the hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
City Attorney Kevin Beal said Tuesday the Rockland charter requires the revised plan be subjected to a second reading Aug. 11.
But first, the new plan will have to be resubmitted to the Comprehensive Planning Commission, which is scheduled to discuss the document at City Hall at 7 p.m. July 28.
The proposal then goes to the planning board, which will hold a public hearing in City Hall at 7 p.m. July 29.
The council also is asking the Comprehensive Planning Commission to consider whether the current zoning at the corner is appropriate and where on Camden Street commercial development should stop.
If commercial zoning is appropriate for the corner, the council is seeking advice on what kind of commercial zoning should be allowed.
Under Maine law, the City Council may approve Walgreens’ application for the conditional rezoning of the properties provided the rezoning request is consistent with the growth management program under the Comprehensive Plan and the established rezoned areas are consistent with existing and permitted uses within the original zones.
The planning board is being asked to advise the council on whether the project is consistent with the city’ s Comprehensive Plan and to offer additional conditions that might make the project more palatable, said Beal.
“We feel we’ ve done a really great job responding to the concerns of the community,” said Bunker in a recent interview.