WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Planning Board unanimously approved an application for a CVS Pharmacy with a drive-through at Monday night’s meeting. The pharmacy and convenience store will be located at 1144 South Avenue, replacing the existing CVS on the same street.
Attorney Stephen Hehl represented the applicant at the planning board meeting, which lasted for nearly three hours. The board’s main issues were the proposed signs, traffic control and intrusion for local residents.
“Our goal is to be great neighbors,” William Zuccarello, construction project manager for CVS health region 1, said.
After debate about the dimensions and brightness of the signs, the applicant agreed to reduce the proposed size of the signs and remove the request for a monument sign, according to Hehl. Hehl also guaranteed that the signs will only be lit during store and work hours, as it is not a 24-hour store.
“I think that’s pretty accommodating,” Board Chairman Vince Wilt said of the lighting agreement. The store plans to be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Matthew Seckler, a traffic engineer representing the company, claimed that traffic disturbance will be minimal.
“The average delay will be about eight seconds,” Seckler said.
Along with the set hours, the store intends to appease its neighbors by using board-approved paint colors and installing 4-foot hedges to block out headlights.
Hehl promised that the new store will be aesthetically pleasing and harmonious to the neighborhood.
Dave Starr, owner of Body Work by Fischer, claimed his customers mistakenly thought his business had closed due to rumors surrounding the store’s application. Starr currently rents property at 1130 South Avenue.
“I understand that if CVS comes in, we have to move,” Starr said. “But I don’t appreciate being told that my business is run-down or out of business. We’re still going. This is going to hurt me.”
After hearing all of Hehl’s witnesses, which also included architect Serena Wray, civil engineer Jeffrey Martell and professional planner Paul Grygdil, the board approved the application.
“We can’t stop change; we can only manage it,” board member Sam Della Fera said. “I think we’ve managed this change in a way that’s going to be beneficial to the neighborhood and the town.”