Zoning on Magazine Street may not be as accommodating to a Walgreens pharmacy as was originally assumed, members of the adjacent neighborhood association said Tuesday evening as they began preliminary discussions of the proposed development.
The old American Legion in the 5500 block of Magazine is zoned B-2, which allows for a variety of general retail uses, said Peggy Adams, an attorney on the board of the Audubon-Riverside Neighborhood Association. Although B-2 does not specifically prohibit drug stores, pharmacies with drive-through lanes are specifically mentioned in a separate section of the city zoning code, C-1A. And in some cases, Adams said, the fact that one type of development is specifically mentioned in a certain zoning has been used to preclude it in other zonings.
Adams’ concerns about the building’s zoning come at a very preliminary point in the Walgreens discussion, as the three neighborhood associations are planning a public meeting with the developer, Stirling Properties, tentatively set for March 16. But, still reeling after Romney Pilates left many Uptown residents feeling railroaded, Audubon-Riverside plans to send a letter to the city asking that no zoning approval be granted to Walgreens for the site until after the public forum.
Though the board is aggressively exploring its options, ARNA has not expressed any formal opinion on Walgreens, and no board members offered theirs during Tuesday’s meeting. Ultimately, the neighborhoods may decide that opposing Walgreens would be unwise, Adams said. The height limit on that section of Magazine Street is 55 feet, meaning a far more intrusive commercial entity could come instead Walgreens, she said.
“This property will get developed. We may end up with something worse, and we may end up with a developer who doesn’t talk to us,” Adams said. “We all need to be mindful that someone can come in and go up 55 feet and put in a whole lot of stuff that can be worse.”
To read a recap of our live coverage of the meeting, click in the box below.