By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
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.