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City approves Walgreens site plan

By Nick Walter, Islander Reporter

The southern-most unit, formerly a Shells restaurant, and three other stores are to be demolished at the Anna Maria Island Centre shopping plaza at 3200 East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach to make way for a new Walgreens. Islander Photo: Nick Walter

Holmes Beach commissioners last week approved a site plan that will allow a stand-alone Walgreens at 3200 E. Bay Drive in the Anna Maria Centre shopping plaza.

But the vote Sept. 28 at city hall came with stipulations.

The current Walgreens is north of the proposed site at 3248 E. Bay Drive in the shopping center.

At the request of Anna Maria Island Centre LLC, Benderson Development completed a site plan that proposes to demolish the old Shells restaurant building and build a 16,510-square foot building with a drive-through pharmacy lane and a liquor store.

Benderson proposes to knock out the three adjacent units to create room for the drive-through and for expansion of the old Shells building.

Benderson has not yet applied for a permit.

As he considered the likely increase in traffic from the drive-through lane, Commissioner David Zaccagnino was concerned about the safety of pedestrians who would be accessing Walgreens on the south side of the center. Also, he said, there is no sidewalk or crosswalk running from neighborhoods across Gulf Drive to the Walgreens.

So one stipulation to the site plan requires Anna Maria Island Centre LLC to complete a plan providing safe pedestrian access with sidewalks and crosswalks.

Also, the possible addition of the drive-through lane prompted concerns from Holmes Beach resident Margarita Fernandez, who lives on Sixth Avenue just beyond an alley that runs west of the proposed Walgreens and north-south behind the center.

Fernandez was concerned that the 4-foot-high fence separating her home from the 30-foot-wide alley that would accommodate traffic for the Walgreens drive-through would not buffer the increased noise and pollution.

Her concern prompted another stipulation to the plan, which calls for a buffer running about 240 feet along the west side of Walgreens. It could be a fence or landscaping.

The site plan also includes 331 parking spaces, which would is 14 spaces less than required. The code does not provide a way of waving the 14 spaces.

The city is currently in the process of passing an amendment to the code that would lessen the parking requirement. If adopted, the shortage of 14 spaces would be acceptable. If not, the company would have to present a revised parking plan before Dec. 15.

In other business, Commissioner Pat Morton said he received about a dozen complaints about residents setting yard waste at the curb on Mondays with their garbage. He said residents requested the commission amend its trash ordinance so that yard waste could not be set on the curb until Tuesday morning for the Wednesday pickup. But the commission kept the ordinance so that people can gather their yard waste on Sundays.

The next city commission meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

2 Responses to City approves Walgreens site plan

  1. frank S says:

    The City Just opened up a can of worms!!!!!!! Now they will have to allow franchises with drive-inns the same privlege !!! That law was put into effect to deter Mc’D's , Burger Kind, Wendy’s the likes of doing business on the Island. Now it’s an open door for any company especially the big guys to put in a franchise. Some 1 didn’t do their home work . What a mess this could become. Greed !!!!!

    • Karen says:

      I have noticed that Benderson always gets it’s way, HB code only applies to law abiding citizens, not corporations! Research the history of that shopping center.. you will be amazed at what you find!

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