WALGREEN’S MOVES; NEIGHBORS NOT SO MUCH

walgreen's 2 102113Borough engineer Christine Ballard, left, of T&M Associates, answers neighbors’ questions about the Walgreen’s proposal during a break in Monday night’s hearing. Below, a plan shows the flow of delivery trucks in yellow. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

walgreen's 1 102113A Walgreen’s pharmacy proposed for Red Bank got moved a few feet since it was first pitched to the borough planning board, company representatives said Monday night.

It also got a bit of an architectural makeover to make a long, windowless wall less forbidding. Both changes were intended to address concerns of nearby residents.

But questions from both neighbors and board members persisted about why the store, at 14,200 square feet, has to be so large. And the answer that kept coming back was: it’s smaller than the “typical” Walgreen’s.

With a footprint of 11,200 square feet and a 3,000 SF interior mezzanine, “you still get 14,200 square feet,” borough Engineer Christine Ballard told Walgreen’s architect David Delle Donna.

“I’m getting 14,200, which is 600 under criteria,” Delle Donna replied, referring to the company’s preferred size.

Pinckney Road resident Mark Turnamian asked store engineer Dan Dougherty why Walgreen’s didn’t simply put a smaller building on the one-acre lot, previously occupied by the Rassas Buick auto dealership.

“This is, from my experience, the lower end” of the size range of typical Walgreen’s stores, Dougherty replied.

Dougherty had earlier outlined a series of changes made to the plan since the last hearing, in September.

One was to “slide” the building south and east a bit, so that a one-foot setback on Garfield Place would now be 15 feet, including a sidewalk, a vegetation strip and a landscaped strip with trees.

The wall was also shortened by eight feet, to 139 feet in length, and given architectural flourishes to make it less monolithic and “much less of a blank wall feeling,” said Dougherty.

The hearing, the second on the proposal, adjourned without a decision and scheduled to resume on November 18, when a traffic engineer for the applicant is expected to testify on perhaps the most controversial aspect of the plan.