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Argus-Courier Editorial: Walgreens saga keeps dragging on

Eventually, the Petaluma City Council is going to have to make a decision on the proposed Walgreens drive-thru pharmacy. At this point, what that decision will be seems to be a toss-up.

Thus far, the word winds have blown in both directions. As staff writer Allison Jarrell reports in today’s Argus-Courier, in June a majority of council members indicated support for the project, including the drive-thru window. But this week, at least three council members expressed opposition to the project.

The issue is more complicated than a simple yea or nay on the drive-thru. The Walgreens’ plan requires two general plan amendments, one to rezone the property at the corner of North McDowell Boulevard and Lynch Creek Way from business park to mixed commercial use and one to allow for the drive-thru window.

Both are significant.

The rezoning amendment would change what was initially planned to be physician office space and overflow parking for the hospital to allow for mixed-use retail and commercial, permitting the Walgreens retail use.

An amendment is also needed to allow for the drive-thru window, an amenity that is forbidden by the current general plan.

This week, when city staff presented the city council with an update on the project, a long discussion on the project’s merits developed, continuing a discussion that has already dragged on for more than a year.

Argus-Courier headlines accurately portray the ever-shifting saga of the project as it has traveled through the city process.

° July 11, 2013: “Planning Commission says no to Wallgreens.”

° Aug. 15, 2013: “Petaluma Walgreens plan stokes drive-thru debate.”

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