Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board recommended approval Thursday, April 13 of a right-of-way buffer variance for a planned CVS Pharmacy to be built at the Wellington Town Square shopping plaza at the southwest corner of Forest Hill and South Shore boulevards.
The new CVS Pharmacy location is slated to be built on an outparcel where Star Liquors is now. CVS would then vacate its current in-line building near Publix.
The requested variance decreases the required minimum setback and right-of-way landscape for the CVS building for a distance of 150 feet along Forest Hill Blvd., reducing the front setback and landscape buffer from 25 feet to 20 feet.
The shopping center was built in 1982, the façades were updated in 2003, and the owner is now proposing to redevelop the project by demolishing the existing Star Liquors store and building a freestanding CVS Pharmacy, according to Senior Associate Planner Damian Newell.
Newell added that the Development Review Committee had examined the application and found that the proposed configuration would minimize the number of variances required for the redevelopment, allow the alignment of the drive aisle and reduce on-site circulation conflicts.
The configuration also allows parking spaces to remain in the areas that will best serve existing and proposed uses. The existing cross-access location and site configuration provide a unique circumstance that limits the potential location for infill development without the need for a variance, Newell said.
Village staff has not received any comments from the public on the requested variance and recommended approval.
Mark Rickards with the engineering firm Kimley-Horn & Associates said the redevelopment of the shopping center is, for the most part, parallel to Forest Hill Blvd.
“The drive aisles and parking rows are all parallel to the western two-thirds of the shopping center,” Rickards said. “As you move east, Forest Hill actually jogs to the north. As you jog to the north, you get this wedge-shaped green space that has a pinch point at the northwest corner of the building, which has the minimum dimension of 20 feet. The other end of the building is actually over 30 feet.”
He said the pinch point at the entrance to the shopping center is due to the configuration of Forest Hill Blvd. and added that there has been close collaboration with all parties involved, and the variance was actually a minor part of changes planned for the shopping center.
The drive aisle will be shifted to the west, and the existing main driveway will remain open while the new entrance is being constructed. Also, portions of the parking lot will stay open while other portions are being built. He added that the owner had to include emergency fire access in the new plans, as well as cross access with the nearby bank and gas station.
“We know that in Wellington, with the equestrian folks, you have a larger number of the larger trucks or [vehicles] pulling horse trailers, and the culmination is the peculiar configuration of this portion of the shopping center, and that’s what brings me here to you tonight,” Rickards said, adding that the applicant had agreed to all the conditions raised by staff.
Board Member Jeffrey Robbert asked whether there are plans to fix the entrance at Ken Adams Way as well, and Newell said other changes are under review to improve the area.
John Hillman with Kimley-Horn & Associates said the CVS is actually the second phase of overall improvements planned at the shopping center.
“To answer your question, we are actually doing modifications to the rest of the plaza as well,” Hillman said.
He added that the main entrance to Forest Hill Blvd. is being upgraded to dedicated left and right out lanes that will be extended for additional queuing.
Also planned is the demolition and redevelopment of portions of the shopping plaza facing South Shore Blvd. That area will be the future home of Provident Jewelry.
Board Member Carol Coleman made a motion to recommend approval of the variance, which carried 6-0 with Board Member Tomas Bueno absent.