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CVS Superstore Plans for Winchester

CVS is seeking planning permission to build a 13,000 square foot store with 65 parking spaces in Winchester. The plan will have a significant impact on traffic and safety for Winchester residents.

In the past few months CVS has been seeking planning permission to build a 13,000-square-foot store with 65 parking spaces at the corner of Washington and Swanton streets in Winchester. Together with many other local residents, I am concerned about the impact of this proposal on the neighborhood.  I have several causes for concern:

The new store will pose a major safety risk for school children, pedestrians, and cyclists. A traffic study for the new store was completed in July 2012 (probably one of the lightest traffic months of the year), which failed to take into account the existing school year congestion and traffic on Washington Street during morning and afternoon school drop-off and pickup. The traffic study did conclude that the new CVS would generate over 25,000 new car visits per month. As a parent of two school aged children, I am concerned about the safety of their walk to school, especially as the new CVS will have entrances to the parking lot from both Washington and Swanton streets. 

While the current commercial buildings on this site are not attractive, the proposed new CVS (larger than the current CVS on Route 28 in Stoneham) will be two stories tall and together with the parking spaces, will consume a large area that seems out of place in a primarily residential neighborhood of smaller houses. Winchester’s long range vision for the downtown Triangle Area mentions that it is an town objective to retain “..existing commercial/business properties for commercial use that do not impact the tranquility of the Triangle’s residential neighborhoods..”, so it is puzzling that the proposal for a very large two story brick building with 65 parking spaces would be considered for this neighborhood.

Finally, it is also puzzling that CVS wants to open such a large, new store, so close to their existing downtown location in Winchester. Is CVS planning to keep both stores, or will they eventually close their downtown location?

There will be a public hearing at the Town Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7:45 p.m., and I urge concerned residents to attend to find out more about the plans.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

DWinchester December 11, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Roger your comments are very positive and forward thinking. Please suggest this to the owner and zoning board.
Roger Wilson December 11, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Two of the keys are to relax about traffic congestion which slows speed and improves safety and not to impose needless limits on the street parking needed to make businesses without big parking lots viable - We have had neighbors appose a coffee shop and a sit down restuarant in the area which would have been real additions.
Juice February 28, 2013 at 01:22 PM
The only thing I will miss if CVS goes in that location will be the Laundromat, as far as I know it's the only one in Winchester, what about people that use this business on a weekly basis? I personally would prefer a Walgreens instead. The traffic issues are already congested in that area, so putting a CVS there really will not make a big difference. I also think it will help with creating more jobs. Just not sure why it has to be a two story building.
Miss Lady March 27, 2013 at 01:10 PM
I drive around the Boston area all day for work and have noticed some CVSs that are very attractive. Namely, the one in Wellesley that is built along the main road (like the current building is on Washington St.) with parking behind it. It is two storeys, the exterior is a beautiful flat-stacked river stone and there are doctors' and other professional offices upstairs from it. It's a really lovely building that would look fantastic on the corner of Washington and Swanton. I would suggest pushing back at the developer until they have an upscale design like the one in Wellesley. After all, we'll all be looking at this building for a long time. Let's make it beautiful! We have to admit, some of the zoning in Winchester has left a lot to be desired. If someone is going to clean up that corner, let's do it right and set a tone for high-quality future development!
Miss Lady March 27, 2013 at 01:18 PM
http://www.northstarcenters.com/wellesley_ma.htm for photo of the CVS in Wellesley and http://natdev.com/portfolio/retail/ (see the image in the very bottom-left corner) for the sketch proposal for the site. We should insist on something nice like this!

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