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Div St Forum Letter 2-19-12

Div St Forum Letter 2-19-12

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Published by Gary Howe

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Published by: Gary Howe on Feb 21, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/21/2012

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We Can’t Have Our
City and Suburb Too
On Tuesday, CVS will ask the Traverse City Commissioners if they can build a suburban-style store onone of the most visible corners in the region, Division and Front. As co-chairs of the Division StreetSteering Committee, we feel that the Commissioners should not grant this request.In early 2011, the Mayor assembled the Division Street Steering Committee to provide recommendationsto the City Commission for immediate improvements that can be instituted to Division Street. At theAugust 8, 2011 Study Session, the committee presented solutions to change the character of DivisionStreet to a city street that is safe for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to share, travel along, and cross.The report was accepted by the City Commissioners with appreciation.Our committee also suggests the need to create a southern
 gateway to the city
at 14
th
and Division thatcreates a
 sense of place
and welcomes you into Traverse City. This reinforces the prior work of the 2010Division Design Initiative that calls for a long term solution of modern roundabouts to calm traffic, allowfor safe crossings, and provide smooth traffic flow from 14
th
Street to the Grandview Parkway andbeyond.The proposed CVS development at Division and Front will severely limit the ability to create anintersection
that works for everyone and doesn’t align with this vision or the character of Traverse City.
 CVS is asking for several variances in their application, including a drive-through window, a 13,500 sq.ft. building instead of the 6000 sq. ft. allowed, and a larger surface parking lot than is required, pluschanging the zoning to C-3 instead of the current C-2 designation of the area.
 In other words, CVS wantsto build 
their auto-oriented, suburban-type convenience store found in Anyplace, USA
.
Our town is revered for its quaint character of intact neighborhoods, its friendly people, a bustlingdowntown, world-class waterfront, and wonderful pace of life.While some may argue this project will clean up a blighted corner and generate tax dollars for the city, wefeel that these short-term benefits will come with long-term costs in quality of life for the neighborhoodand the city.Therefore, our Citizens and Commissioners should not sit idle to generic developments that diminish theattractive qualities of Traverse City.
CVS’s
auto-oriented business will further erode the ability of non-motorized users to safely cross thisbusy intersection. It is a convenience store with a pharmacy. We already have numerous locally-ownedbusinesses that provide these services within several blocks of the proposed CVS site.Allowing the proposed development ignores the well-thought out concepts put forth for the DivisionStreet corridor over the past two years. It also fails to recognize the continuing work of the currentCorridor Improvement Study.City Commissioners should respect the recent efforts put forth by many citizens and staff by not
approving CVS’s application.

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