Planning commission gives Walgreens the green lightAfter a unanimous vote in favor of the site plan during the Cloquet Planning Commission meeting Tuesday evening, Cloquet is officially one step closer to having a Walgreens. Cloquet City Council members will vote on the proposal Tuesday at 7 p.m.
By: Janelle Verke, Pine Journal
After a unanimous vote in favor of the site plan during the Cloquet Planning Commission meeting Tuesday evening, Cloquet is officially one step closer to having a Walgreens.
Holly Butcher, the city’s community development director, gave a brief overview of the site plan, explaining the scope of the project, including what will be done to enhance the property at 203 Doddridge Ave. Butcher said the existing building, Southgate Bowl Incorporated, would be demolished and the Walgreens building would be roughly two-thirds the size of the current building. Furthermore, the company’s site plan gives stability to the erosion on the north side of the property as well as adding green space to the property.
One area of concern with the development is the intersection of Highway 33 and Doddridge Avenue. Butcher said the county, Minnesota Department of Transportation and the city each have a stake in that intersection and will be doing construction as part of a Highway 33 improvement project in 2013. That particular intersection will have improved signalization to ease the flow of traffic, among other improvements. A concept under discussion with PJ’s Little Store and Walgreens is a right-in, right-out access point on the north side of the gas station, and a closure of the gas
station access point on Doddridge closest to the intersection.
John Kohler, the developer with Semper Development for the proposed Walgreens store, spoke to the commission about several points including the size of the driving lanes around the Walgreens building. Because there will be a drive-up pharmacy, Kohler said the area around the building will be a bit wider than a two-way street. He said that even with an area for trash on the north side of the building and a large delivery truck once each week, traffic could easily flow around the building.
Carol Strom, a resident near the proposed development, said she is happy to see Walgreens come to town.
“I give Holly a lot of credit for getting [Walgreens] in,” Strom said. “They are a wonderful company.”
Members of the planning commission agreed with Strom. Commissioner John Sanders stated he was glad to see a site plan without variances and fully supported it.
After citing two additional conditions to recommend to the city council, a third condition was added for an easement for a sanitary sewer lift station which is technically located on the proposed Walgreens’ site.
Commissioners stated they are sad to see the bowling alley leave, but were in favor of the project. Commissioner Uriah Wilkinson thanked the Pollard family for their service to the community.
The site plan will now go before the Cloquet City Council for a vote at the council’s 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday.