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CVS developer appeals design to Sebastopol City Council


A Sacramento developer appealed to the Sebastopol City Council on Tuesday to approve the design of its controversial proposal for a CVS Pharmacy and Chase Bank branch at one of the city’s busiest intersections.

“The efforts to stop this project with the denial of the design needs to stop tonight,” said Michelle Moore, an attorney for the developer, Armstrong Development Inc. of Sacramento.

The Pellini Chevrolet building on Highway 12 in Sebastopol, empty since the car dealership closed its doors at the end of 2008. (PD File)

Armstrong is asking the City Council to overturn the Design Review Board’s rejection of the project’s latest design, contending the design meets all requirements and the board erred in its denial.

The issue was being heard Tuesday in a public hearing that, after three hours, was continued until 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Armstrong is proposing to a 14,576-square-foot pharmacy and 4,327-square-foot bank branch on 2.4 acres at the site of the vacant Pellini Chevrolet dealership, at a cost of $10 million.

CVS and Chase would move to the new location, which is one of Sebastopol’s most prominent and heavily traveled intersections, from locations elsewhere in the city.

Critics, however, contend that even the latest design is still out of character with Sebastopol’s small town Main Street.

“The overriding, fundamental problem is site layout,” said Lynn Deedler, a member of the Design Review Board, who spoke before the council during the public testimony Tuesday night. “It is a suburban-style shopping center designed for cars and located in the center of town.”

Robert Beauchamp, another Design Review Board member, said that while Armstrong made a lot of revisions with things like color and reduced the height, it hasn’t solved the problem.

“It takes more than a brick to make a building,” Beauchamp said. “The height of the building is still a massive 26 feet, it is still a big box.”

The latest design by Sebastopol architect Kevin Kellogg was rejected by the Design Review Board on May 30, the board’s third rejection.

After the second rejection, Armstrong appealed to the City Council, but was sent back to the board by the City Council with a list of changes the council wanted.

In response, Kellogg redesigned the project, varying the roof heights, substituting a brick facade for of quasi-industrial metal siding, replacing parking with an larger plaza, installing clear glass windows and making the drive way on Petaluma Avenue one way into the complex.

“We believe this design is compatible with the Sebastopol neighborhood,” Kellogg said.

Supporters of the project also said it will bring additional revenue to Sebastopol and create jobs.

“The little bit of information I have about this project is it is likely to bring jobs, increase taxes and property taxes,” said Zilda McCausland of Sebastopol.

The public hearing will be continued and the City Council is expected to make a decision at a special council meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Community Center.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@pressdemocrat.com.

8 Responses to “CVS developer appeals design to Sebastopol City Council”

  1. David Wells says:

    If you want that kind of stuff, go to Santa Rosa or wherever. It’s what five miles at most to the next cvs or rite aid? How many of the same stores do you need? At least the eyesore that it currently is, isn’t a traffic problem to a town already stifled by traffic. Why don’t you try and do something about that instead of cry’n about not getting another convenience store. 

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  2. Jim Bennett says:

    Two globalist interests meet.

    ICLEI and CVS/Chase.

    Sebastopol Council’s jackin”em around
    (kinda like Chick-fil-a deal) because they of course need to appease their masters and install Smart Growth.

    They tested CVS’s resolve, hoping they’d just go away but they have expiditors/consultants that jump through hoops for a living.

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  3. Western Cluebird says:

    As far as the design review board and Sebastopol City Council goes some animals are more equal than others.

    Why is the “Funk and Flash” store allowed to paint it’s building in garish colors without restrictions unlike every other business in the downtown area ?
    Why do some businesses put out advertisement signboards with no problem while others are told to take them down immediately?
    Why is the ugly, usually vacant propaganda tent still cluttering the downtown square (free of charge) while CVS can’t replace a weedy derelict eyesore with a new business?

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  4. Steveguy says:

    Just say ” NO” to any business that wants to open that provides jobs, payroll taxes, property taxes , sales taxes, etc.

    Just say NO !!!!!

    Just say ” YES ” to administrator’s raises and pensions !

    Be silent while they rip us all opff ! It’s the American Way ! oh my

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  5. Snarky says:

    Its past time to begin dismantling local and state government. Americans designed & engaged government and we can dismantle it as well. We don’t need low skilled un-elected bureaucrats dictating every move we make in life. How to begin? REFUSE any futher tax increases of any kind. starve the monster. Time to dismantle the useless machine that dictates our every move in life starting at sun up.

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  6. Citizen says:

    Good for them. It takes a lot of guts to stand against the tide of economic recovery and demand, “No jobs here, thank you!”

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  7. I have never understood why a Design Review Committee comprised of unelected members who do not have one cent of ownership in the property whose design they review can have more say in the development of a property than its actual owners.

    Perhaps it springs from the history of zoning in this country, which did not exist until New York City in the early 1900s, when the first skyscrapers began to cast permanent shadows on neighboring buildings, and were seen as intruding on the property rights of said neighborhoods. Since this first reasonable application of zoning, the abuses of planning have spread like a cancer.

    Whether it’s Sebastopol, Petaluma, Cotati, or elsewhere, the effete political hacks who comprise review boards and planning commissions are an insult to the principles of free enterprise and private property that made this country great.

    About the only advice I can offer CVS, other than to forgo Sebastopol and build in Texas, is to find one member of their board who is 1/32nd Miwok, and then have the site declared a sovereign nation, so they can finally be free to build whatever they want.

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  8. Grapevines says:

    The Sebastopol City Council, or the heart of the Natural Fruit and Fiber Network. How could anyone with any sense have any hope of getting a consensus out of this body?

    Rail that you will only use recycled materials that are certified to come from solar powered nuclear-free zones in the construction? All your workers will wear home-spun clothing with only organic natural fibers in them. An hour will be dedicated daily to face east and contemplate one’s interaction and Ch’I?

    Best of luck but your shoveling against the tide here.

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