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Planning co. grants waivers to Walgreens for Cathell Road site

If you are in Ocean City this week, you may notice a couple of changes as you drive down Coastal Highway. The speed limit, normally 40 mph through North Ocean City, has been reduced to 30 mph, and Downtown, the speed limit has also been reduced. This is due to the expected, unauthorized H2Oi Pop-Up Rally.  It is reasonable to expect heavier than usual traffic, noise and strict enforcement of vehicle laws during the week and weekend.

NANCY POWELL ¦ Staff Writer

(Oct. 12, 2012) The proposed new Walgreens pharmacy on Cathell Road obtained site plan approval last week from the Worcester County Planning Commission.

The new 14,985-square-foot pharmacy would be built at the northwest corner of the intersection of Cathell Road and Route 589. It is the site of the former Martin Groff Real Estate and Construction Co., which will be demolished.

It will eventually replace the existing Walgreens at Manklin Station on Manklin Creek Road in Ocean Pines.

Jeff Harman of the Becker Morgan Group, the Salisbury-based architectural and Engineering firm, said the brick and glass building “is unique, but meets the standards.” The building uses materials and colors recommended for the “town center” type of architecture described in the county’s Design Guidelines and Standards for commercial construction.

“We’ve done everything to meet the design intent,” Harman said.

Nevertheless, the designs needed waivers from the county’s guidelines and standards, but after consideration, the Planning Commission granted the requested waivers during the Oct. 4 meeting in Snow Hill.

A waiver was granted for the shape of the roof, so it would not be sloped. If the building followed the standards, it would have needed a 30-foot-tall roof to go over the 30-foot-tall one-story building, said Jason Pierce, project consultant. Instead, it will have a flat roof on the building and also on the drive-through where people may pick up prescriptions.

Another waiver was granted from the requirement to have projections and recesses on sides to be seen by the public. Because of the store’s site, all four sides will be considered public because all four will be visible. Variations in brick will be used to meet the intent of the requirement. Projections and recesses would have made the interior less efficient.

The requirement for transparency on all four sides also merited a waiver. Because the store must have a secure pharmacy area for its medicines, including narcotics, that section of the store cannot have a window.

“The applicant has to have secure drug storage,” Pierce said.

A similar requirement for transparency above 15 feet on all sides was granted a waiver because Walgreens will be a one-story building and the requirement suits multi-story buildings, but not single-story ones.

Waivers were also given for the front yard landscape buffer because the site will have ample green space and because of the angled right-of-way and the sidewalk buffer which the county standards state must be put in adjacent to streets. The State Highway Administration does not want a sidewalk installed at this time. A similar waiver was granted for a required sidewalk along Route 589.

The last waiver was granted for foundation plantings on the side of the building where the drive-through will be located because plantings would block emergency vehicle access.

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