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Walgreens Plays Hardball at Planning Commission Meeting

Manor_intersection_bridge_2 At the Planning Commission meeting on the Walgreens drugstore plan, it was especially upsetting to hear the developer say that two important concerns voiced by Commissioners were "deal breakers," to use his terminology, i.e., if we don't get them, we won't do the project. Those are the drive-through window and the horizontal parking on Palmetto. After the Commission deadlocked 3-3 on the first vote, they decided to hold over a final decision until the next meeting. The developer rushed to the podium and announced another "deal-breaker": Walgreens could just not stand for any more delays! So a proposal was made to include some environmental additions to the planning, and on the second vote, Campbell, who voted NO on the first vote, joined Clifford, Ranken, and Leon in voting Yes. Maykel and Nathanson voted No. Cicerone was absent. —Richard Hurley

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If you're going to charge that a 24-hour pharmacy will increase crime, shouldn't you provide some evidence to back up the charge?
Does the 24-hour Safeway in Linda Mar encourage criminals to hang around?

Personally I think the intersection is already maxed out as far as traffic goes.

Hello: permission to publish, and to cut n slash: I have filed an appeal with the City Council over the Approval by the Planning Commission of the Walgreens Drug Store. I am a retired school principal and have been a property owner in town since 1979, and have lived here since 1997.Pacifica City Council
Office of the City Clerk
170 Santa Maria Ave
Pacifica, Ca 94044

May 30, 2007

Regarding: Appeal of a Planning Commission Approval of a Walgreen’s Store

There is ample evidence and many very good reasons why my appeal of this approval should be in the form of asking the Council to block permanently the entire plan to place a drug store at Palmetto and Manor Drive. Better to sink this leaky ship than try to plug its many gaping holes. I believe you will find that there are many in the community who think this way.

First, there are too many flaws and defects in the planning that will certainly create serious management problems for city administrators, as well as having a negative impact on the quality of life in the immediate area of the Manor shopping district. The list is long and I am sure you will hear about many of them before the appeal process runs its course. At the risk of repetition, let me list only a few:

1.)24 hour operation will disturb the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood. No proof has been presented that 24 hour operation will not require more time from police and fire-rescue services, other than the statement to that effect in the Negative Declaration Document.
2.)Large, and in some cases, double trailer trucks will rumble on to the site at all hours. While we have been assured by the developer that Walgreen’s will schedule their own trucks at times convenient for the neighborhood, they cannot do so for the many vendors who will supply the store, including large trailer-trucks delivering beverages.
3.)Even without the drive through window, and diagonal parking on Palmetto, the estimated 1,200 or so trips to and from Walgreens, plus the heavy traffic that is usual there, will create a traffic nightmare, not only at Palmetto and West Manor, but also at Oceana and Palmetto. The 24 Hour Fitness Center is proving to be a thriving business, creating increased traffic, and added to that the traffic that will be created by the Connemara Project- all of these factors will create chaos at the Oceana-Manor intersection. A traffic jam at this intersection quickly impacts Manor and Palmetto as what lies between the two intersections is the length of the Manor Bridge.

As evidence that the traffic problems will be manageable, we have the traffic studies presented in the Mitigation Document. Each intersection was studied for one day, and that only during the rush hours.

When you add to this mix a drive through window and diagonal parking on Palmetto, you will have an unworkable situation.

Serious as these concerns are, more harmful is the message being sent to the community at large but especially to the small businesses here, about the priorities set by City Planners and the Council. Did anyone from the City approach the merchants along Manor, Palmetto and Oceana as to the possible impact of a “big box” store in the area? Many of these folks have been here for years, paying their taxes and providing services to the Manor Community. If you take a stroll through a nearby Walgreens store, you may be surprised to find that with the exception of prescription drugs, most of their stock is available at either our local Safeway, 7-11, or Fruit Market.

Has anyone thought about the small businesses in the area? Before a “big box” store comes in with needs for more space and more parking, creating more traffic and noise, shouldn’t those concerns be addressed? Let me mention specifically one business: The Unocal-76 service station is a thriving business, not only because of the cars who stop for gas but also because of the traffic generated by the auto maintenance and repair work done there. Often there are so many cars awaiting service t that customers wanting gas can’t get to the pumps. Was this merchant’s needs and concerns addressed as plans were made to superimpose on the corner a business whose parking and traffic problems will surely be in conflict with the operation of his business?

For all of these reasons, the City Council would be acting reasonably to completely reject this project, or at least direct that an Environmental Impact Report be done before any further steps are taken. Seven citizens, all with previous experience and interest in city planning, requested, in their responses to the Mitigation Study, that there be an EIR.
They gave very good reasons for so suggesting.

All of that being said, it seems that many residents feel they would like to have a drug store in Manor. I appeal that at a minimum, there should be an EIR, and if the developer and Walgreens cannot make reasonable accomodations to correct the serious problems in the project, then the plan should be rejected.

Thank You.

Richard E. Hurley:
Pacifica City Council
Office of the City Clerk
170 Santa Maria Ave
Pacifica, Ca 94044

May 30, 2007

Regarding: Appeal of a Planning Commission Approval of a Walgreen’s Store

There is ample evidence and many very good reasons why my appeal of this approval should be in the form of asking the Council to block permanently the entire plan to place a drug store at Palmetto and Manor Drive. Better to sink this leaky ship than try to plug its many gaping holes. I believe you will find that there are many in the community who think this way.

First, there are too many flaws and defects in the planning that will certainly create serious management problems for city administrators, as well as having a negative impact on the quality of life in the immediate area of the Manor shopping district. The list is long and I am sure you will hear about many of them before the appeal process runs its course. At the risk of repetition, let me list only a few:

1.)24 hour operation will disturb the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood. No proof has been presented that 24 hour operation will not require more time from police and fire-rescue services, other than the statement to that effect in the Negative Declaration Document.
2.)Large, and in some cases, double trailer trucks will rumble on to the site at all hours. While we have been assured by the developer that Walgreen’s will schedule their own trucks at times convenient for the neighborhood, they cannot do so for the many vendors who will supply the store, including large trailer-trucks delivering beverages.
3.)Even without the drive through window, and diagonal parking on Palmetto, the estimated 1,200 or so trips to and from Walgreens, plus the heavy traffic that is usual there, will create a traffic nightmare, not only at Palmetto and West Manor, but also at Oceana and Palmetto. The 24 Hour Fitness Center is proving to be a thriving business, creating increased traffic, and added to that the traffic that will be created by the Connemara Project- all of these factors will create chaos at the Oceana-Manor intersection. A traffic jam at this intersection quickly impacts Manor and Palmetto as what lies between the two intersections is the length of the Manor Bridge.

As evidence that the traffic problems will be manageable, we have the traffic studies presented in the Mitigation Document. Each intersection was studied for one day, and that only during the rush hours.

When you add to this mix a drive through window and diagonal parking on Palmetto, you will have an unworkable situation.

Serious as these concerns are, more harmful is the message being sent to the community at large but especially to the small businesses here, about the priorities set by City Planners and the Council. Did anyone from the City approach the merchants along Manor, Palmetto and Oceana as to the possible impact of a “big box” store in the area? Many of these folks have been here for years, paying their taxes and providing services to the Manor Community. If you take a stroll through a nearby Walgreens store, you may be surprised to find that with the exception of prescription drugs, most of their stock is available at either our local Safeway, 7-11, or Fruit Market.

Has anyone thought about the small businesses in the area? Before a “big box” store comes in with needs for more space and more parking, creating more traffic and noise, shouldn’t those concerns be addressed? Let me mention specifically one business: The Unocal-76 service station is a thriving business, not only because of the cars who stop for gas but also because of the traffic generated by the auto maintenance and repair work done there. Often there are so many cars awaiting service t that customers wanting gas can’t get to the pumps. Was this merchant’s needs and concerns addressed as plans were made to superimpose on the corner a business whose parking and traffic problems will surely be in conflict with the operation of his business?

For all of these reasons, the City Council would be acting reasonably to completely reject this project, or at least direct that an Environmental Impact Report be done before any further steps are taken. Seven citizens, all with previous experience and interest in city planning, requested, in their responses to the Mitigation Study, that there be an EIR.
They gave very good reasons for so suggesting.

All of that being said, it seems that many residents feel they would like to have a drug store in Manor. I appeal that at a minimum, there should be an EIR, and if the developer and Walgreens cannot make reasonable accomodations to correct the serious problems in the project, then the plan should be rejected.

Thank You.

Richard E. Hurley:


I don't know if the 24-hour pharmacy offers such a great community service...if you have a cold in the middle of the night and it's worth getting in your car for, Westlake's open 24 hours and it's another five minutes.

If it's more serious and you need prescription medicine, you'll have to go to a doctor anyway, so you'll have to leave Pacifica for that first. Plus, I don't know if Walgreens is offering to keep the pharmacy open 24/7 in Pacifica...anyone know what hours they want to keep that open?

I admit I'm not entirely convinced the Walgreens will be such a magnet for illegal activity...I'm having a hard time imagining that hoodlums will come from miles around to Pacifica just for the Walgreens. When Oceana was torched we just assumed that the people who did it came from "somewhere else," but they didn't. If the Walgreens provides a late-night gathering place for Pacifica's native criminals, that might even be a good thing, because it'd be easy for the PPD to keep an eye on it. Out of curiosity, has anyone from the PPD expressed any opinion on how it would affect them? If they're worried about it I'd be inclined to be more concerned.

I would prefer that they allow Walgreens to be open 24 hours specifically because there aren't any other options locally if I'm sick in the middle of the night. Also, I would think that having additional lights and traffic at night would actually deter crime rather than encourage it.

Walgreens also wants to stay open 24 hours a day. That's not only predatory business practice against the other two pharmacies in Pacifica, it is likely to draw crime and traffic. After all, who hangs around a lit store at 4 in the morning?

If the Walgreens project is approved, it should be done with the following moderation:

(1) standard business hours such as those currently maintained by the nearby Safeway

(2) No drive-through window. This is too much traffic for which there is no adequate space.

Think about it: Who drives through a drugstore down the coast in the wee hours of the morning? Is it any of your neighbors? If no, think about who will be hanging out there, driving in.

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