CVS Planning Major Development in Downtown Carrboro

CVS is in the process of buying up properties in downtown Carrboro across from Weaver Street Market to potentially build a 2 story building that would house a retail tenant (presumably CVS) on the 1st floor and office space and/or apartments on the second floor.

Ruby talked a little bit about the new development on the corner of Greensboro and Weaver Street in a previous post.  To recap: Weaver Street Market needed money to help pay for debt they have incurred the passed few years and they sold 3 downtown properties to CVS. (See Map) They sold the property on the corner of  N. Greensboro and Weaver Street (where WCOM and Community Realty used to be), the parking lot next to that building and 104 Center Street.  The house on 104 Center Street is an historic Mill House built around 1910.  This house will most likely be torn down in the near future.   The developer working for CVS is close to purchasing 203 N Greensboro St (Debra Seaton’s Dental practice) and the hair shop on the corner of Short and Center Street.  This would mean CVS will own all but one the property on the block.

This is obviously of great interest to everyone who lives Carrboro since it is the center of town and will set the tone for future development in downtown.  I am very interested since I live on Center Street right across from this potential project.  The residents of Center St and some from Oak Avenue have been meeting to talk about this issue.  Like everyone, we are concerned about traffic, noise, light pollution, truck deliveries etc. that might come with a potential 24 hour CVS.  Everyone realizes that Carrboro is looking to increase its commercial tax base.  However, we think that the town of Carrboro and potential developers must carefully craft this project so it keeps Center Street a safe and quiet residential street, compliments the character of downtown Carrboro and keeps traffic sane at that critical intersection.

We think its important that the residents of the town are fully informed about this important development.  There are still many zoning and permit issues to work through in this project and the public will have the opportunity to have input on these issues.  For example, 104 center street is zoned residential (R7), another property is zoned for small business (B2)  and that whole block is part of a Downtown Neighborhood Protection district (DNP, http://www.ci.carrboro.nc.us/PZI/PDFs/Temp-062805/ORDINANCE.pdf).

This development is the subject of a Carrboro Board of Aldermen's November 9th work session agenda at 7:30PM.  The public can attend this meeting, but they will not take public comments.  Come to the meeting if you are interested in the future of downtown Carrboro.  

What would you like to see at this site?  What are your opinions on a new, bigger CVS in downtown Carrboro? 

Total votes: 192

Comments

Are you implying that the current traffic at Greenboro and Weaver  St. are sane now?

Another consideration is what would happen to the current CVS space if
it does, as Jeff suggests, relocate to the corner. That's a huge
footprint to fill, which means it's likely only another national chain
could take the space. And if it doesn't relocate? What's going to fill
the new retail footprint? All questions that hopefully will be answered
in the coming months.

I've heard rumors that Harris Teeter wants to expand..  but I have no idea if that is true.

Meh

I have no philosophical objection to the idea of CVS taking part in consensual and legal business activity, but personally I just don't see a scenario here that really increases the allure of Downtown Carrboro.  There is already a CVS, obviously, and I rarely go into that one as it is.  I've never once thought to myself "damn, I wish that CVS was newer/better/open longer/whatever."I guess having a remodeled and larger Harris Teeter would be sorta nice, but far from critical.  And hey, if we end up with a cool new restaurant or something like that, it would be pretty sweet.  At the end of the day though, I can't really think of anything that Carrboro needs from my perspective.

Once I went into the Carrboro CVS looking for something-- I don't remember what it was. The manager told me that they didn't have enough room to stock the item, which was advertised in the CVS flier, and they had many customers coming in confused about why they couldn't stock the item. She said this was a common complaint with Carrboro customers and she wished they had more floor and display space, because she often had to send customers to the nearest CVS with enough floor space to stock all advertised items, at Chatham Downs in Chapel Hill.Personally, I would love a CVS in Carrboro with a Minute Clinic, as would other low-income residents of Carrboro, I imagine. But I'm not sure what I think about this location for the development.

DNP

One correction: Only the properties in the eastern half of the block are within the DNP overlay district. The properties that abut Center Street are not. (See Carrboro zoning map.)

Carrboro Family Pharmacy is a wonderful, locally owned, incredibly helpful business. They get 98% of my pharmacy business. On the other hand, I refuse to shop at CVS, and am totally dismayed to hear they now own a large chunk of downtown Carrboro.How can they choose to destroy a historical property? I thought the old mill houses were protected. Or is it just those along S. Greensboro St that have the protection?

I think the mill houses are only protected if they are in a historic district (http://gis01.ci.carrboro.nc.us/Website/ZoningQuery/zonepage.asp?Pickzone=HD).  I don't know what properties have that designation in Carrboro, but apparently 104 center street does not have that designation.

Carrboro has a Historic District zoning overlay, but it hasn't been applied anywhere.Several properties along Old Pittsboro Road and Maple Avenue are within the Neighborhood Preservation District zoning overlay, which provides for additional review of development and building permit applications. However, the overlay hasn't been applied in other parts of town, such as Center Street and South Greensboro Street.There may be differences in individual cases. For example, when the Board of Aldermen rezoned 102 Center Street in 2008, they did so with the condition "that the historic millhouse currently located on the property shall not be removed or demolished" (Board of Aldermen minutes, May 27, 2008).

The biggest downside to this that I can see is that CVS is probably going to want an enormous parking lot, just across the street from another enormous parking lot.  Other than that I'm glad something is going to be done with the old Norina building, that corner is ripe for a 2-3 story building with street level retail and office or residential space above.

here is an article in the Chapel Hill News that came out today.

http://www.chapelhillnews.com/2010/11/03/60516/cvs-buys-corner-tract.html

 

The agenda for the Tuesday Alderman meeting at 7:30PM is up on the town website.Most interesting is Page 2 of this document that shows the site plan:http://www.ci.carrboro.nc.us/BoA/Agendas/2010/11_09_2010_A1A.pdfAlso see this document for the points of discussion:
http://www.ci.carrboro.nc.us/BoA/Agendas/2010/11_09_2010_A1.pdf Please come out the meeting on Tuesday November 9th at 7:30PM at town hall..  

When I heard that Weaver Street Market had sold this property I was pretty concerned. A big box store in the middle of town is not what we need or want. But a very special building could be built to work with the character of Town at that intersection.

With that in mind I'd like to submit my support for a new structure if it:
1) Has significant square footage for more office space in Carrboro
2) Works well with the surrounding neighborhood
3) Is at least two stories and is close to the street in a urban manner

My business and many others have been looking for more office space in Carrboro. There currently isn't enough contiguous space with modern specs to help us. This situation has caused many of us to consider moving out of Carrboro. If we could get more space we could help other businesses by bringing more workers downtown.

This is the wrong project for this important site.  Forget whether or not CVS being a chain business is something the community should or shouldn't be concerned about. Consider the following:1. The Value of Urban Corners. (street frontage on two sides) The recent Chapel Hill downtown Master Plan indicated that the top value points in their urban core are corner properties, and one of the consultant's key recommendations was to create more corners by adding streets in downtown.  Surely this also holds in Carrboro, where the number of "A-list" corners are in short supply.  Back in 2001, when The Village Project hosted a charette about this very property, community members came out in large numbers to suggest potential uses, make design recommendations, and share their aspirations for a site so close to the WSM lawn and the Century Center. Please see the report for visuals of potential outcomes.I encourage everyone to take a quick look at the REPORT (PDF) and perhaps more importantly the appendices, which contain the public's proposed uses. The top recommendation was "mixed use retail/affordable housing/local business." Recommendations from a UNC-based economic development study included:• Continue emphasis on entertainment district• Continue emphasis on professional services• Continue to support and encourage the arts• Recruit Information Technology(IT) fi rmsFrom the site plan, this proposal looks like it has one door on the north side of the building, facing towards Fitch at the largest of three parking lots. The two primary building frontages on N Greensboro and W Weaver are probably dead, inactive brick walls. This is a suburban and not an urban orientation, which is completely wrong for the context. Leaving the parking along West Weaver Street while adding all the other parking is a failure of imagination.  2. Economic Development Potential. 22,000 square feet is far too little space for this site. We should have a predominantly three to five story building on this site with significantly more space for businesses, including the types recommended by the Economic Development study. A thoughtful site plan could accomplish this while being lower on the back side, perhaps 2 stories, as it interfaces with the residential side of the neighborhood.Brian's personal testimony is a strong indicator that this need identified almost ten years ago is still not being adequately met downtown.Parking should be integrated into the building fabric somehow, with reasonable parking reductions for being in one of the most walkable, transit-friendly, and bike-friendly places in NC. If we are serious about trying to stop the escalation of the residential tax burden in southern Orange County, and move some of the cost of town services onto the commercial sector, there are a few better locations in the county than here to build up with greater intensity. 3. Potential for Single Use. I hope the Aldermen ask if CVS thinks they might decide to use the second floor for storage.  I would not be surprised if this is their preference over offices for non-CVS businesses.This location is begging for some residential in addition to office and retail.Carrboro Vision 2020 and many other town documents have goals for this part of town and this project is an underhwhelming at best contribution to all of those goals.  

The Citizen article seems to say this development would add two parking lots to the existing lot, for a total of 3 parking lots.

Thanks to all of you who have shown interest in this downtown development, the effects on Carrboro and pointing out the needs our town has (like office space).  There was a very good turnout at the Alderman meeting and it showed the engagement of our town.  I'll try to keep folks updated on the what is happening with meeting etc.. Meanwhile, there has been quite a few new articles about the Alderman meeting and an interesting letter from Fleet Feet owner in the Chapel Hill news:http://www.chapelhillnews.com/2010/11/10/60662/dont-rush-deal-on-carrboro-property.htmlHerald SunThis is most interesting new piece of info in this article:"The developer, Hart-Redd, has built or is building about 23 CVS stores throughout the South, according to its website."
http://heraldsun.net/view/full_story/10274184/article-Carrboro-may-soon-house-a-new-CVS?instance=main_article
Carrboro Citizenhttp://www.carrborocitizen.com/main/2010/11/11/development-on-key-corner-gets-first-review-by-board/
News & Observerhttp://www.newsobserver.com/2010/11/09/792581/carrboro-board-reviews-plans-for.html#story_tab_main#ixzz156AuRELJ
  

On Tuesday night, the developer's representative more than once described the parking area as being located behind the building. An article in the Chapel Hill Herald repeats the claim, also more than once, stating that "parking would be in the back of the building" and "parking would be located behind and next to the building rather than in front of it."This description is incorrect. According to the preliminary site plan and elevations presented on Tuesday, most of the parking would be in front of the building. The building entrances would face north toward Short Street across a large parking lot. The back of the building would abut Weaver Street. A loading dock would be placed at the southwest corner of the building near Weaver Street. (In the figure below, adapted from the preliminary site plan, the entrances are shown as yellow dots and the loading dock is shown as a green rectangle.)The plan clearly shows a building that faces Short Street, backs up to Weaver Street, and presents an unused 125-foot facade along North Greensboro Street. As Patrick observes above, this suburban orientation would be a poor—even alienating—use of the site, especially on such an important downtown corner.

Real Media video of the meeting held by the Carrboro Board of Alderman to discuss "Courtesy Review of 201 North Greensboro Street Area and Policies" is on the Carrboro Town website here. http://townofcarrboro.org/BoA/Agendas/2010/11_09_2010.htm

When I voted this month, I knew it would not prevent the Republican take-over of the House. But participation and protest are ends in themselves, and have good long-term consequences. It seems to me that the same applies here. Perhaps nothing will stop CVS, but this plan should simply be opposed.I was among those who attended the Village Project charette in 2003 in which we dreamed big for the corner of Weaver and Greensboro diagonally opposite the Century Center. But this is what we get?! A huge paved lot for the temporary storage of internal combustion engines, and a bigger CVS the town does not need?! Mill houses and trees destroyed?! Worse automobile dependence and traffic pattern complications?! I am disappointed in Weaver Street Market for selling their lot to CVS.At first I started to puzzle over how to minimize the damage. The thought occured to me of lining up the car entrances with those for Carr Mill Mall on the other side of Greensboro. Mark Chilton, it turns out, had the same idea. And I do not condemn him or others for trying to figure out ways to mitigate the harm that this plan would do.But after puzzling over this for a while, I took hold of myself. This is just a really bad idea, plain and simple, I reminded myself. Just say NO to CVS!James Coley

Here's my question:    why don't we band together and buy the property and develop it in the manner we would prefer?   If we did,  I think we  would quickly understand why the  private market isn't looking at those uses for the property.      The numbers  don't work.  Unfortunately  we've set ourselves up--with escalating land values,  limited commerical zoning, citizens with high disposable incomes, cost of required property enhancements,  and  lengthy development processes --to price out smaller, more locally committed developers and business owners.  it takes deep pockets and a long time to acquire land, pay the upfront costs of development, and get to a point of being able to secure financing for projects.  Some of these factors are simply not within the control of local government.  But some things are, and two that come to mind are the length of the development review process and the impact fee and other enhancement requirements.    That's why I advocate for an expedited and predictable development review process for any developer that will build from a list of "acceptable uses" for a property, and perhaps a break on impact and enhancement fee requirements.    That reduces out of pocket developer costs for a property.    A bank won't even lend on a project until a lot of upfront work and approvals have occured.  The developer has to fund the costs of getting to that point out of his own pocket.   And if the approval doesn't happen,  then the developer is just out the money.   I did an informal survey of some projects that were proposed but never got off the ground.  The parties reported spending anywhere from 25,000 to over 300,000 dollars for projects that never happened--they were either denied, could not obtain financing, or were finally deemed to be economically unfeasible.     How many small local developers can afford to do that?    

This comment by Anita is a amazing! Thanks!

It outlines many of the reasons why our shared vision can not easily be accomplished. I plan on linking back to it often.

My hope is that some organization emerges that raises the large amount of money necessary for this long term investment. Then it must be managed responsibly.

If we don't do this our Towns will continue to be shaped by companies who don't share our visions.

This is a great post. Kudos

Hi, Anita. Even if the changes in the development review process and impact and enhancement fee requirements you advocate were implemented, wouldn't big companies like CVS simply outbid smaller, more locally committed developers and business owners on the price of land? My own thinking is that there is too little local regulation, not too much. The town of Carrboro should be able to simply forbid CVS from building there because of the damage it will do. James Coley

Am I missing something? Is CVS building a pit bull fighting ring or a poorly maintained tire fire???

That's an excellent example of the Straw Man fallacy. A scarecrow stuffed with straw is easy to knock over; likewise, the claim that the CVS plan as currently configured is as bad as either of your colorful examples would be easy to refute. But the actual claim in question is merely that the plan passes the threshold of doing damage, not that it is as bad as all that.This is, I know, a pedantic response to an admirably clever and humorous expression of incredulity that anyone would consider the plan harmful. However, the plan would be harmful to Carrboro compared to the status quo. Wit can not obscure this. We already have a CVS and the slight increase in utility, for people doing their shopping, of a larger one would be significantly outweighed by the increase in automobile traffic and parking alone. It is just a bad idea, plain and simple.James Coley

How would traffic noticeably increase if this CVS had only a "slight increase in utility"? Furthermore, would you rather a building be built that had absolutely no use to the community, thereby attracting no additional traffic? Finally, since when is traffic considered noteworthy damage in the first place as the only reason anyone cares about this particular location is the traffic that exists there already?I'm no fan of this plan either, but I find the vociferous reaction to it pretty bizarre. As Anita alluded to in this thread, there was no shortage of time or opportunities for other parties to acquire this location for "better" purposes. No one did and, as far as I can tell, no one else has any kind of reasonable plan for an alternative.I would invite you to consider your definition of damage and try applying it to the homes and business you prefer and ask yourself if you're simply choosing arguments of convenience here to stop an activity that you don't like, as the existence of any centralized attraction in the town of Carrboro seems to meet your definition of "damage".

The increase in utility is only slight because we already have a well-located CVS of adequate size. No one would drive from the Harris-Teeter or Elmo's to the CVS now, but on the plan some would. The plan diminishes the current walkability. There were many reasonable alternative plans developed in the 2007 charrette.Again, a good Straw Man example: "[W]ould you rather a building be built that had absolutely no use to the community?" Obviously, I have not said, implied or suggested this. Also, "vociferous" is not an accurate description. I'm not inclined to respond further because you are not taking issue with what I have actually said. Finally, automobile traffic in the urban environment is always damaging. My definition of "damage" is the same as yours. This is not a matter of my personal preferences, and I would welcome centralized attractions in Carrboro that represent good urban planning. I think we might agree that that is not what this plan is.James Coley

You're not addressing the core contradiction in your opinion here -- you take issue with this plan as it increases traffic, yet you suggest there are alternatives that would be of greater use to the community that, by definition, would also increase traffic and to a greater degree. If traffic is your primary concern, then why wouldn't the lowest possible utility best meet that standard?I highly doubt our definitions of "damage" are the same, at least in this context. While I find this plan unoriginal, boring, of little use to me, and generally disappointing relative to the location in question, I wouldn't in any way call it "damaging". I also wouldn't refer to it as "bad urban planning" as it modernizes and increases the urban space in Carrboro. It may not do it in a way we like or to the degree we prefer, but at least it's something to occupy space currently being underutilized.

I don't agree that alternatives that would be of greater use to the community would necessarily increase automobile traffic overall. That is why there is no contradiction.A primary challenge of good urban planning is to find ways to improve underutilized space that depend on transit, biking and walking instead. But the CVS plan shows no recognition of this challenge.I would much rather see, for example, the land used for housing. Even though there would inevitably be car storage there, someone who lives on that block would be able to walk, bike and take the bus more effectively than if they  lived outside of downtown. All of the plans from the 2007 Village Project charette included housing.James Coley

While I'm confused as to how a few homes would be of better use to the community as a whole than a commercial space used by thousands, I certainly do agree that it would have been nice to see residential space incorporated into building plans here.That being said, we're back to Anita's original point: if people wanted to see homes here, there was ample time and opportunity for us to do something about it. We didn't. CVS shouldn't be punished for the inaction of its neighbors.

Well, I will ask the obvious questions  here and wait for the beatings  to start.    Is it OK for the seller of the property to maximize its return on investment, but not the buyer?   The seller,  WSM,  is a local non profit cooperative  started with a loan from the Town of Carrboro.  It's broad based collective ownership presumably provides it with a snapshot of community values and interests.  Its duly elected  Board is representative of its membership and oversees its financial dealings.   Its Board approved  the sale of this property to CVS.   How many of the people who are unhappy about CVS's purchase of this property  are also shareholders of WSM?  If you are one of them,  would you have supported having WSM take the financial  risk to develop this property, rather than just sell it off?    Would you have approved a sale of the property at less than market value so that the buyer could afford to do somethign more socially responsible but perhaps less financially viable?If the answer to these questions is yes,  did you communicate that information to the Board when they were contemplating this sale?  If the answer is no,  then how does maximizing the return on your investment  align with your stated commitments to responsible development/investing and the expectation  that CVS leave some of their money on the table for the community's benefit?  Just to be clear,  I am not saying that  WSM did anything inappropriate.  I don't think they did.       WSM has to keep itself financially sustainable and this transaction presumably is in keeping with that goal.  The Board has a fidicuary resonsibility to WSM and selling this property  in a free market transaction  is consistent with that objective.    But there's something not quite right about the content of the conversation about CVS without a corresponding discussion about what, if any, social responsibility the stakeholders of a non profit organization have regarding the disposition of assets that  the organization owns?    

needs to be whether WSM put the property up for sale or whether they knew of a potential purchaser and bypassed the public sale. If I understand the owner of Fleet Feet's letter to the editor last week, it sounds like WSM did not serve the community well by making the property publicly available. But is that really the way it happened?

Anita, I'm unhappy with this sale by WSM and have been an owner for almost ten years.  I receive paper and electronic communications from WSM, and I actually read them most of the time. I only found out about this transaction after it was pretty much done, or at least under contract.I think WSM raised expectations for the possibilities of this site with their intentional, open-source, community-based approach to soliciting ideas for how to develop the property.  Would it have been that difficult to broadcast more widely that they could not hold the property any longer and were looking for others who might pursue some of their original goals, or those that the community articulated? I don't think so, and the thoughtful letter by the Fleet Feet owner encapsulates what I imagine many others are thinking: if WSM had let us know the stakes, and shared their predicament with the community more publicly, the community may have had an opportunity to respond before the sale to CVS.  

If I understand this post correctly, it says that there are people who will drive from the Carr Mill parking lot to a drug store across the street.  Good grief, that's our problem.  (I guess, I understand that there might be a few people that need to drive but really.)  We need to convince those people to walk across the street.  Why does this site need more than a few (if any) parking spaces.  There is a municipal parking lot across the street and I have almost never failed to find a parking space there.  There is another municipal parking lot a short block to the west that I have never failed to find a parking space in.  I rarely park in the Carr Mill lots because I find them uncomfortable places to park.  I no longer park in the Carr Mill spaces on the Weaver Street side of the building at all.

Yes, the problem is that, absurd as it is, some people would drive across Greensboro street to get back and forth between the Harris-Teeter grocery store and Carr Mill Mall on one side, and the new CVS on the other. Some drivers, infected by "automobile dominance in the head," (as I call it) would rather do that than "lower" their status to that of the pedestrian. At present, the CVS is much better located, and is continguous with the Harris-Teeter.Jim, you are to be lauded for making good use of the municipal parking lots, and becoming a pedestrian to get to your destination.  James Coley

James,I don't know anyone like you describe but I'll assume they exist.  Pedestrians have lower status?  We need to free these people from their percieved social pressures and it would be good for their health also. However, I don't think this provides grounds for summarily dismissing the CVS project.  Maybe Carrboro can get a useful building.  Harris-Teeter can expand and CVS can provide more service. I am not saying that the current plan is necessarily a good one but it could be a starting point for obtaining something that will make downtown Carrboro more sustainable.  It certainly should be viewed in the context of a general vision for downtown Carrboro.  

I think that we all know people who would drive across Greensboro Street, and who think of pedestrians as having lower status, whether we know that about them or not. It is rife in the culture.Again, we can't seem to get away from the Straw Man fallacy. Of course, that alone may not be "grounds for summarily dismissing the CVS project." No one said that it was. Several posts here have articulated many reasons to object to it. The point I and others made about driving across Greensboro is but one.I agree that the CVS plan should be viewed in the context of a general vision for downtown Carrboro. But in such a context, it fails miserably. The right vision is one that discourages automobile use, promotes walkability, and relates to the rest of downtown in a positive way.A bigger store we don't need, with a big new parking lot, that reduces walkability and turns its back on the center of town is inconsistent with that progressive and sustainable general vision. The main problem with the CVS plan is not so much what it is as what it is not. It uses central, valuable land to give us something we don't need when it could be used, as in the plans in the 2007 Village Project charette, for something much more important, and perhaps even beautiful. James Coley

James,There are two different issues that we are discussing.  How do we deal with people who would drive across the street to go to a drug store is one.  I believe that we should try to educate them and not necessarily make sure the world doesn't give them the opportunity.  It seems like you believe something else but I don't want to put words in your mouth.  I have been thinking about this issue and I believe that you and I come from slightly different cultures.  In an urban culture, pedestrians and for that matter the use of public transportation are the norms.  The automobile is mostly an annoyance.  The second issue is the building itself and I am in no sense saying that I think the building as proposed is a good idea but I see no reason why putting a building in the space being discussed that would house a drug store is unreasonable.  It seems like someone (with the ability to act) has decided that the current space is inadequate.  I have heard discussion of this for a long time.  If the CVS were to move, H-T would have space to expand or it may just do that anyway.  Why shouldn't Carrboro take the attitude that if we can get an appropriate building in that space it could house a drugstore and entertain some sort of negotiations?  In my opinion Carrboro should want something to happen in that space.  I certainly am not a historian of Carrboro or drugstore chains but I have lived in this area a long time and for as long as I can remember there has been a drugstore in the current location operated by the predecessors of the current owner, I think.  Have they been bad corporate citizens of Carrboro?  I don't know the answer.  There are at least some people who think we need a larger drugstore.  I find your language "to give us something we don't need" disturbing because I think others also have a right to an opinion.  Honestly, I don't need a drugstore in that space either but I respect the rights of others to say what they need. Also lay off the straw men I think they have a union.  What is the fallacy?  You have your reasons for wanting the project summarily dismissed.  This particular reason al least, seems pretty thin to me.  You have other hopes for that space, OK.

The Straw Man fallacy is to attack a weak argument, attributing the argument to someone who did not make it. It comes from not understanding the argument the person was really making. My view that Carrboro does not need a larger CVS in no way entails that others do not have a right to their own opinion. Of course, they do. In that case, the fallacy is Non Sequitur. Jim, I think you and I come to this differently because you take it as a given that the "free market" process is right in deciding things like this. According to this dominant mythology of the marketplace, views about what is needed in a town are merely "matters of opinion" akin to consumer preferences to be resolved by that process. I think that sometimes the market is just plain wrong. The CVS plan is a great example, but we see examples of market failures around us every single day.Actually, I think we agree that, if the CVS proposal is to be executed, the best thing to do about automobile traffic across Greensboro is to make it very convenient and inviting for people to walk or bike across instead. Perhaps something creative could be done with the nearby intersection for that purpose, and maybe also to make it easier for large trucks to back into the loading area at Weaver Street Market. But I leave puzzling over such things to others, as I believe the CVS plan is simply bad for downtown Carrboro. Not relative to market standards, not relative to personal idiosyncrasy, but relative to principles of good urban planning. In rural areas, I believe, cars and trucks make sense. But in the urban environment automobile dominance is a root problem, and the CVS proposal is a standard automobile-oriented plan that fails miserably to use the potential of that location for the good of the community.James Coley

James,I don't like the way this is going.  It is getting off the issue and turning towards your assessment of my way of thinking.  You have no idea what I think of the "free market process".  If what you mean is I think other people's opinions need to be taken into account when making decisions then you're right but I guess I am offended by your economic analogy.  Also, what weak argument did I attribute to you that you didn't make. I don't support and never have supported the current plan for the space in question but I do support the addition of more retail and commercial space in downtown Carrboro.  I think if people could meet more of their needs in downtown Carrboro it would add to sustainability.  CVS has expressed an interest in increasing its retail space in downtown Carrboro.  I don't see any reason why the town shouldn't try to negotiate a solution that would satisfy the builders and increase the retail space in town.  As Dan says below there are standards for development that must be followed and there seem to be additional issues.  You say we don't need a bigger store.  Well there are people who think they do.  I fail to see that this is inconsistent with a vision of increased sustainability.  I would think that more space to supply peoples needs would increase sustainability.I went to the Crossroads Charette site you added above.  I haven't read the document completely.  The picture at the top of the first page looks great.  It says that the Charette was held in 2003.  What progress has been made in the past seven years to achieve the vision?I think a place where we disagree is how to deal with the issue of people driving from one parking lot to another.  I think the solution can not be achieved by design and engineering, although they can help.  I think the real and enduring solution comes from educating people to the reality of using automobiles.  I haven't thought much about the prestige issue but that can also be turned around by education.

Hi, Jim. You ask what weak argument you attributed to me that I did not make. I made that instance of the Straw Man fallacy clear in the second paragraph of my post on Tuesday. And it is a Non Sequitur to say that if someone expresses a view, this entails that the opinions of others do not need to be taken into account. My remarks on the ideology of the marketplace were an attempt to understand why you might say such a thing in this context. You replied that I have not made the correct assessment of your thinking, but then I am at a loss as to why you would say such a thing. So let's get back on track.Those remarks are also relevant to the CVS issue. We live in a society dominated by this ideology, and so the use of the land at the Weaver and Greensboro crossroads becomes a question, not of what the community wants or needs, but of what a wealthy, powerful corporation wants to do to increase its profits. In the context of this ideology, views about what the community needs or does not need are seen as mere "matters of opinion." You are quite right that the Crossroads Charette was in 2003. Unfortunately, no progress has been made since then to achieve the vision developed there, as far as I know. Here is a list of the uses people in the charette mentioned as important. A bigger drugstore is not among them. The charette was a better measure, I submit, of community wants and needs than the profits of CVS.Library CinemaBookstoreRestaurant/CaféHousingChildren’s Center/DaycareSwimming PoolInn/B&B/HostelRadio Station/Media CenterBakery

Anyone who has purchased drugs at that CVS (which I do) knows that we need a larger store.  The line to pick up drugs is always long there.  I have to assume a larger store will have greater capacity for dispensing drugs and thus will benefit me.  I don't think CVS made a decision to invest in larger space just because of an ego thing.  There is demand for it.  You can quibble with whether that is the absolute best use of the particular space they are proposing, but the fact is there is demand for a larger drugstore and they are the ones willing and able to build there.

Do we need to have shorter lines at the drug store? James Coley

Get another person working the line and move those drugs. (I'm assuming that all those drugs are absolutely necessary - wait, my leg is twitching...)

I clearly haven't figured out how to use this media yet.  It seems like it is not possible for me to do anything but present straight forward information.  I am sorry if I was overly dramatic in using the phrase "grounds for summarily dismissing the CVS projects" but I didn't put words in your mouth.  You have indicated above that you are willing to have this project dismissed without further consideration based on, but not only on, the impression that it will cause customers to drive more.  As I said in my previous posts, I think a larger, more pleasant drugstore in downtown Carrboro would make the town more sustainable, not less so.  I think so because more patrons will be able to satisfy more of their needs there and not drive to other locations.  Just reread the second paragraph of my previous post.  Talk about straw men, read the last sentence of your previous post.  Where did I say that the profits of CVS is a better measure of community wants and needs?  I don't disagree with the "wants" part of what you say.  I can't seem to come to a conclusion on the "needs" part.

Jim, I didn’t say you said that CVS profits are a better measure of community needs. I was just writing about how the dominance of the market distorts. I think you have raised some good points in this medium.The ordinary way land is used in a town is that businesses or homebuilders, rightfully pursuing their own interests in harmony with those of others, buy it and build on it. I think you have been articulate in invoking this process.But there were great hopes in the Carrboro community that the land in question here would be developed in something other than the ordinary way. Perhaps you would better understand the opposition that I and others have to the CVS plan if you consider that it is a far cry from these hopes.I noticed that someone painted “Stop CVS”on the building where Norina, Community Realty and WCOM were located. I don’t suppose that the person responsible for the graffito thinks this will actually have any effect, but it is good to protest something as awful as the CVS plan.James Coley

Of particular interest should an application be submitted on this project, the Land Use Ordinance requires:

(1) A primary entrance shall be oriented toward the right of way and
shall be articulated either by a recess or by a detachable awning.

(2) With respect to any side of a building that faces the street
adjacent to the lot where the building is located and is visible from
such street right-of-way, a minimum of 40 percent of the elevation of
such side shall consist of a glass surface, and a minimum of 60 percent
of the elevation of the ground level of such façade shall consist of a
glass surface.

(4) Parking or utility areas shall be substantially shielded from the
view of adjoining streets by habitable space. For the purposes of this
subsection, the term habitable shall mean partially or fully enclosed
space within a building that is actively used or occupied by the
residents of the building.

Page 42 on this link:
http://www.townofcarrboro.org/PZI/PDFs/LUO/ART-XI.pdf

I hope the  standards Dan quotes hold and that the developers can't finnagle a way around them because that abomination plan above is not right for Carrboro's main intersection. Downtown Carrboro is a very inviting place. People are out and about eating, shopping gathering and interacting. This CVS plan with a blank wall on Weaver and Greensboro and a loading dock on Weaver is about the most uninviting plan I have seen unless you are in a car. The main entrance isn't even on Weaver or Greensboro. It reminds me of Florida where strip malls and car travel rule and there is an ugly CVS on every major intersection in the state oriented towards only the automobile. Where you take your life into your hands if you walk and try to cross the intersection. Please Carrboro alderman don't let this plan happen. Make it fit or do something else.

Anita's comments raise good points. People chafe at regulation regardless of how much there is. If they just left the building permits on the front steps of town hall folks would complain that they had to go get 'em. ANYTHING that keeps this store from being built as currently configured is fine with me.What is galling is that the only folks with enough money to buy and develop this site are drug dealers. Pharmaceuticals, insurance and soft drinks are the most profitable businesses in this country. Drugs enjoy a protected, subsidized status that justifies a "last man standing" strategy in store development. The cost of buying and developing this property is incidental to CVS. They just want to make sure they are selling all the lipitor or whatever that is sold in Carrboro. The surprising thing is that they will forego a drive in window. Cam

I think people value the more comfortable and different feel of Carrboro. Everyone is familiar with the ugly schlock and insulting architecture that dominates towns across the country. I don't want to look over from Weaver Street and see a a corporate pharmacy. 

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