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CVS Pharmacy development proposal for Boise’s State Street shot down by P&Z Commission

Passionate testimony against CVS pharmacy at Boise P&Z meeting

More than 50 people signed up to testify as Boise Planning and Zoning considers a conditional use permit for CVS pharmacy. Although the issue was whether CVS could have a drive-up window, many citizens testified about the broader issues of vision,
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More than 50 people signed up to testify as Boise Planning and Zoning considers a conditional use permit for CVS pharmacy. Although the issue was whether CVS could have a drive-up window, many citizens testified about the broader issues of vision,

After hearing nearly four hours of testimony Monday night, the Boise City Planning and Zoning Commission in a 5-1 vote denied a conditional-use permit for CVS pharmacy to have a drive-up window on the store it wants to build on State Street between 16th and 17th streets.

The site is zoned commercial, so CVS didn’t need to go before Planning Commission except that it needed the permit for the drive-up window. It is unclear how the decision will affect the project.

"The citizenry has spoken," said David Klinger, a North End resident and vocal opponent of the development.

Commissioner Jennifer Stevens said that while the development site is zoned commercial, the proposal is not in keeping with Blueprint Boise, the city’s comprehensive guide to managing growth for the next 20 years.

About 50 people signed up to testify at the hearing. Testimony began at around 6:30 p.m. and more than three hours later, nobody spoke in favor of the project. The plans called for tearing down five buildings, including the Arcade Building, home to 23 affordable apartments, and three historical homes.

Geoffrey Wardle, attorney for the developer, TMC Northwest, said at the hearing that the proposal complies with Boise City Code. The developer, he added, would consider moving and relocating some of the historical buildings that would be lost. He also said there is a plan to ensure current tenants won’t be forced out of their homes and immediately left homeless.

Those against the development objected to the potential loss of neighborhood character, an increase in traffic and the lack of need for an additional pharmacy in a neighborhood that already has three nearby. Hundreds of people signed a petition opposing the project.

“I believe you have the tools to deny not only the drive-up window but the whole development,” former Boise City Councilwoman Anne Hausrath testified.

Any decision by the planning commission can be appealed to the Boise City Council.

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