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Sebastopol council rejects CVS Pharmacy design

These photos shows the existing view and an artist's rendering of what the Sebastopol location being considered for a new CVS store would look like.


The Sebastopol City Council reaffirmed its denial of the proposed CVS Pharmacy project Tuesday night, finding the project was out of sync with the city’s Main Street character.

The council adopted a series of suggestions for design changes, should the developer decide to continue with the project. It recommended a litany of changes, including solar, larger windows and less parking.

In a 3-2 vote, the council upheld the Design Review Board ruling against the design by the developer, Armstrong Development of Sacramento, which could send the project back to the drawing board.

“I hope you take this back to the Design Review,” said Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer. “I think you will be treated fairly and some resolution can be reached.”

Shaffer, a supporter of the CVS project, and Councilman Patrick Slayter were the two votes on Armstrong’s behalf.

Mayor Guy Wilson, Vice Mayor Mike Kyes and Councilwoman Sarah Gurney voted to uphold the Design Review Board.

Bill McDermott, vice president for Armstrong, said he will take the council’s action and suggestions back to CVS before a decision is made whether to continue with the project.

The City Council has already given the controversial project all of the approvals it needs to go forward, except for its design.

The design of the proposed CVS Pharmacy-Chase Bank project in Sebastopol had already been changed significantly since it was first proposed, with Armstrong abandoning the standard corporate design for modern, light brown colored buildings with large windows, a plaza and broad walkways fronting the streets.

The CVS and Chase buildings, which would look unlike any others in the nation, were designed by Sebastopol architect Kevin Kellogg.

The developer, however, rejected suggestions by the Design Review Board to eliminate one driveway, downsize the parking lot and move the Chase branch closer to the CVS building.

Armstrong had contended the project meets city guidelines and the design board overstepped its bounds.

The City Council ruled, however, that the board acted appropriately.

Armstrong is proposing to build a 14,576-square-foot CVS Pharmacy and a 4,327-square-foot Chase Bank branch on 2.4 acres at Sebastopol and Petaluma avenues, one of Sebastopol’s most prominent intersections, at a cost of $10 million.

CVS and Chase would move to the site from facilities located elsewhere in Sebastopol.

8 Responses to “Sebastopol council rejects CVS Pharmacy design”

  1. Pundit says:

    Ross, can you actually be serious?

    “i can tell you it is almost all about making money”
    Of course it is, it’s called business, and you’re not in it to lose money, are you?

    “and government regulated capitalism is the most successful system for organizing society in the history of humanity”
    Government regulated capitalism? What the heck is that? You’d do better with socialism or communism if your aim is to organize society, and if you’re implying that the Design Review Board in Sebastopol is aiming to organize society around them, then they are WAY overstepping their bounds!

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  2. ross says:

    there is truth on all sides of this discussion… so we each make our decision. and the city council is closely divided as well.

    sebastopol is a great town to live close to. i am glad to read big developers avoid sonoma county. having once dabbled in development (the end of my building career), i can tell you it is almost all about making money, especially for the big players. and government regulated capitalism is the most successful system for organizing society in the history of humanity (by my measure :)

    so lets all argue about the regulations, thanks!

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  3. J.R. Wirth says:

    Paint a big peace sign on it and donate 20k to Amnesty International and they’ll approve it.

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  4. Bill me says:

    Sebastopol doesn’t deserve new business. Just ban leaf blowers and open another marijuana dispensary. They hire an economic development person tasked (and paid well) to convince new businesses to come there then jack them around with their fantasy arguments that their buildings actually have style. The joke of the County.

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  5. Follower says:

    “Private property” at the end of dirt road in Freestone…YES!

    Right in the middle of downtown?
    …not so much.

    It’s JUST “my” opinion & if you don’t like it… too damn bad.

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  6. Follower: if you think the design could be better, buy the property, hire an architect, and build something magnificent. Otherwise, it is literally none of your business, nor anybody else’s business but the owners.

    No Design Review Committee made up of effete twerps, and no City Council should have a single thing to say about the esthetics of private property. Once basic building safety codes are met, the rest is literally none of the city’s– or its citizens’ — business. If you don’t like CVS or the way it looks, then vote with your wallet and don’t shop there.

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  7. Follower says:

    Cost & politics aside, it was an ugly design & I’m glad I won’t have to see that every time I drive through Sebastopol.

    Yeah, I know… the abandon Chevy Dealership is no eye candy but they can do better than what CVS was proposing.

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  8. Scott P says:

    I have a relative that is a prominent developer in California. Based upon past multiple experiences they absolutely refuse to invest in Sonoma County. Projects take years, they spend hundreds of thousands to try and accomodate cities like Sebastopol only to be given one hurdle after another. One project took so long, two elections passed and each city council negated the “approved work” of the previous councils.

    Bill McDermott, CVS & Chase…take your money and run to some place other than Sebastopol, some place other than Sonoma County.

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