Planning & Development

Losing the War on Drugstores

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by Josh Wood Monday May 3, 2010

Proposed CVSAfter about a 15 month flatline, it looks like the Cranston Recklessly Approved Project index (the city’s leading economic indicator), is on the rise again. We can all rejoice that developers are back at work – looking for ways to get variances and cut corners on the road to grabbing a piece of Cranston.

Of new interest is a proposed CVS on the corner of Norwood and Broad Streets in the Edgewood neighborhood.

I left the 2008 comp-plan meetings with renewed hope that maybe the city was ready to discourage suburban-style developments in its eastern urban areas. The spread of that style has already paved too much of the city: see Reservoir Avenue. There are some great businesses there, but it’s an example of that development at its worst: buildings bobbing in seas of parking. Later in 08, the city had a chance to begin a reversal of that street’s fortune, but lost a battle and granted CVS an approval to build a suburban-style pharmacy set back from a bloated parking lot near the corner of Park Avenue.

You really can’t compare the fortunes of Reservoir Avenue and Broad Street. The battle to preserve the best of Reservoir (shout to the Big Cheese, Hon’s, etc) looks hopeless compared to Broad. Walgreens is really the only scar on that street. Most of the other storefronts sit comfortably within the context of their lots, hide their parking from view, and are good for walking.

The proposed Broad Street CVS is pretty much just a twin of the Reservoir Avenue store – a cookie cutter, suburban-style building bobbing in a sea of parking. In the plan, the structure shared by Rocky’s Ace Hardware and Rite Aid will come down, to be replaced by four rows of parking. A new building will be positioned towards the rear of the property, encircled by a drive-through. It’s in a style and scale that’s alien to the neighborhood it’s supposed to serve, and the plan will require a half-dozen variances. Ironically, the building slated for demo is actually much friendlier to the street. It sits on the corner where it has doors to welcome you in, and it’s shared by two businesses, which keeps it in scale.

The next neighborhood meeting to discuss the project is scheduled for Wednesday, at 6:00 PM at William Hall Library.

Site plan from Respect 4 Edgewood.

[where: 02910]


  1. Update: The Cranston Planning & Site Review committee sent CVS back to the drawing board. The next Planning Cmte meeting is 9AM June 2, 3rd Floor, City Hall. THE PUBLIC IS WELCOME to attend & voice opinions. Respect4Edgewood is hosting a neighborhood meeting that evening, June 2, 6PM at William Hall Library on Broad Street.
    Post your thoughts on Facebook.


    vicky · May 8, 09:45 AM · #


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