comments from the neighborhood...and they're NOT happy...
(The following letter to the editor was printed
in the June 12, 2014 issue of the Star)
CVS deal is not done!
Neighbors For Rational Growth (NFRG) have heard many people in town say "What’s wrong with a new CVS?!" And we get it. We prefer to focus on the positive, too! But "No Mega CVS" does not mean "No CVS." "No Mega CVS" means keeping Winchester safe from over development in all our neighborhoods, now and in the future, in every part of town. "No Mega CVS" is about making sure a national brand does not receive special treatment, compromising our residential neighborhoods and threatening the economic health of our increasingly vibrant downtown.
Out-of-state developers want to build a big-box store with a minute clinic that is almost double the size allowable for the five adjoining properties on the corner of Washington and Swanton streets. The zoning board approved their proposal, regardless of the fact that it does not adhere to our bylaws; in other words, they are breaking the law. Our neighbors have been forced to go to land court to defend the same bylaws the rest of us have to obey!
Our success is completely dependent on the ability to retain professionals to make our case. Your contributions make that possible. Your neighbors need your help. There is a website to learn more, become involved and to contribute to this cause: www.nomegacvs.com.
Please remember that this is not a done deal.
Sue Johnson, Swanton Street
My husband and I have lived in our home for almost 8 years. The proposed CVS would be visible from our front windows - and I imagine that we will hear the delivery trucks, as well. The intersection of Park Ave/Swanton and Washington is already congested enough especially during morning and evening commute times and school drop off and pick ups from Muraco and Saturday Transfer Station hours. I would not have bought my home if CVS or any mega store had been installed on that corner. We like the convenience and small scale of the existing plazas - having family run shops, services, and restaurants has contributed to the walkability of our part of town (and for pharmacy needs, we walk or drive into town often stopping at the book store or doing other errands from center businesses). Also - the existing shops close very early - a key to nighttime peace in a neighborhood full of folks with young kids others who retire early. I am also very concerned about property values and desirability of our home and those of our neighbors. Many of the homes nearby have already faced one blow this year when redistricting put them in a different housing market and affected commutes for their kids. I have not spoke with a single neighbor who thinks that this is a good idea. It is wrong for the aesthetic and needs of the neighborhood. And we will do what we can to maintain the nature of the Winchester we chose almost ten years ago.
Letter to the Editor, Winchester STAR.
The Washington St. CVS is not your average corner drugstore.
The proposed CVS store at the Washington St./ Swanton St. intersection will be about the size of the CVS megastore at the Redstone shopping mall in Stoneham. If you haven’t yet seen that store, I suggest that you take a look. The Winchester megastore will primarily be a traffic disaster. It will also devastate property values in the immediately affected neighborhood, it will injure forever the feel of the entire town, it will set precedent for dropping in unwanted commercial development and, when the present downtown CVS store moves, it will be replaced by what, a VACANT sign? All downtown will take a hit. Such a traffic nightmare and visual eyesore will affect everyone in Winchester. In return, what value does the CVS megastore bring to Winchester? Answer: zero.
The CVS design is presently being heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals in an overcrowded SRO room in town hall. Unfortunately, almost no one outside that room knows anything about the CVS plan or the depth and breadth of citizen opposition because there is very little newspaper coverage and, most distressing, zero TV coverage. (Instead of presenting these timely and important ZBA meetings, WinCam shows endless reruns of School Committee Meetings with hours of charts of SC members and emergency phone numbers. Not helpful.)
To be profitable, the CVS business model will obviously require a very high traffic volume. Cars will be flowing in and out of the CVS megastore parking lot continuously – every day , 7 days /week , 7am / 10 pm. - attempting to turn into, or worse, get thru the lines of traffic on Washington and Swanton St, creating even longer lines. The CVS parking lot with its two way access on both streets, will itself be a cut thru for beating the light; no need to even stop for a toothbrush. All the side roads in that neighborhood will see heavy cut thru volume from cars wanting to beat the light and /or to get to /from the CVS megastore parking lot. This CVS megastore needs a far better, wider, simpler two lane access; it needs an already established large strip mall. The Washington St. / Swanton St. intersection is the wrong place.
TMM Precinct 2
cc: Town Manager Richard Howard
Board of Selectmen Thomas Howley, Chair
Planning Board Lance Grenzeback, Chair
Zoning Board of Appeal Richard Sampson, Chair
Traffic Advisory Council Beth Rudolph, Chair