Braintree town councilors unanimously approved a zoning change in North Braintree to allow a CVS Pharmacy to come into the area.
The CVS will relocate from its current location in South Quincy to the spot at 90 Church St. in Braintree, the current site of a used car dealership.
According to attorney Frank Marinelli, representing CVS, most of the 1.6-acre site is zoned for commercial business already, which would allow for the single-store development under current zoning laws.
However, a small area – 9,987 square feet – within the parcel is zoned for Residence C, which is typically used for multifamily dwellings.
The problem is, due to the size of the smaller parcel, a multifamily dwelling couldn’t possibly be built on the land. A single-family home exists on the property now and will be demolished.
Additionally, the two other buildings on the larger portion of the property – a showroom and a body and repair shop - don’t fit in with the General Business zoning guidelines, either.
Demolishing existing structures in favor of a retail store would be much more in conformity with zoning of the area, Marinelli said.
“This makes eminent planning sense,” Marinelli said. “We have the opportunity to incorporate it for a better use, a use by right, a retail store, and we have the opportunity to get rid of an unconforming lot and an unconforming building on an unconforming lot.”
CVS will lease the property from the Shea family, which has owned and operated the used car dealership since 2008.
Prior to 2008, the family operated a Chrysler dealership for decades. Although the business was profitable, when the company declared bankruptcy in 2008, the franchise was taken away from them.
According to Joe Driscoll, an attorney representing the Shea family, several Shea relatives still live next door to the property and wanted to see their business turned into something that would benefit the neighborhood.
“The Sheas are Braintree guys,” he said. “They care about Church Street, how it looks. And when they were approached by CVS, they thought it was a good fit for them personally and for the neighborhood.”
In addition to the demolition of several buildings existing on the site, the redevelopment will bring in 400 plantings and add significant green space to an area that is mostly a parking lot right now.
Runoff will also be contained with new drainage being put in, and the hours be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Town Councilors commended CVS for a job well done after the developers hosted two neighborhood meetings on the project and had another planning board public hearing before coming to the council with their request.
“This is the proper way to introduce a project to the neighborhood, to the council, to the public,” said Councilor Sean Powers. “They were very open and went through extra lengths, notified above and beyond the abutters, invited them into their office. This is the proper way to introduce a project to a neighborhood, and I appreciate them for conducting themselves in that manner.”
The rezoning was unanimously approved by councilors. The project will now go on to a site review with the planning board. Officials will be discussing lighting, design, and signage with neighbors.