By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The developer of the controversial Sebastopol CVS Pharmacy-Chase Bank proposal is back with a third design aimed at quelling critics’ concerns.
The latest design calls for a brick facade instead of quasi-industrial metal siding, shields parking from the street, has clear glass windows and scales down the buildings, including eliminating a portico.
It is meant to be more pedestrian-friendly, with walkways, a plaza and trees and also address potential traffic issues.
“It sounds like they have very systematically looked at every issue identified by the Design Review Board and council and are attempting to resolve those issues,” said Mayor Guy Wilson.
Armstrong Development of Sacramento is proposing the pharmacy and bank branch at Sebastopol and Petaluma avenues, one of Sebastopol’s busiest and most visible intersections.
The project has been the subject of a dozen long and often-contentious meetings. While the City Council has given the controversial project most of the approvals it needs to go forward, approval from the Design Review Board is required.
The new design will be on the board’s May 16 agenda.
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 a cost of $10 million.
CVS and Chase would move to the site from facilities elsewhere in Sebastopol.
A spokesman for Armstrong could not be reached Monday for comment.
A letter to the city, however, stated “the design of the buildings is based on the adjacent Main Street retail area rather than the previously proposed design which attempted to create a bridge between the historically industrial area of Sebastopol to west of the property and the retail Main Street to the east.”
The design for the property — the site of the vacant Pellini Chevrolet dealership — is the second by Sebastopol architect Kevin Kellogg.
Some critics don’t believe CVS Pharmacy or Chase should be at the corner at all. They prefer a development of small shops on a bottom floor with apartments on a second floor.
“This is an issue that has caught the attention of the community, and there is a lot of concern and a lot of support about it, too,” Wilson said. “There is a lot of opposition to the CVS project, and some of the opposition is based just on the look, but there are other aspects as well.”
Design Review Board member Lynn Deedler said the board’s decision will not be based on the purpose of the project, but by how it looks.
“It is about the design and that is all that is only going before the board,” Deedler said. “If they have made something that is appropriate to that location in the community, it will go right through.”
You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.