The possibility of a drive-through of a new retail pharmacy on West College Avenue had neighboring businesses up in arms during a recent meeting of the Conway Planning Commission. While commissioners debated whether to act on the request, which asked for a conditional use permit in the area, currently zoned as quiet office (O-2).
Eddie Glover, one of the partners in the building, which has until now housed a compounding pharmacy, said he was asking for a pick up window for a new “community retail pharmacy” in the current space. A drive-through already exists on the property, but it is not being used at this time. The drive-through would have traffic enter from Dennison and leave on College, but Glover said toward the end of the meeting that he would consider placing the drive-through on the opposite side of the building.
His reversal came about after Jim Comerford of the Conway Foot Clinic spoke against the measure, citing safety concerns. Comerford was the only person to speak against the measure at the meeting, but the commission received letters of objection from Conway Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Brown Family Chiropractic.
Little Rock attorney Richard Downing, who represents the Foot Clinic, told the commission that it had no authority to place restrictions on the Foot Clinic’s property, which includes the parking lot that the drive-through would use. Neighbors are upset that cars would come through the parking lot where their patients are walking on in order to get to the pharmacy.
None of the businesses spoke with each other prior to the meeting, and Glover admitted he had not reached out before the meeting.
“There is no excuse for that, and I will bend over backwards to accommodate our neighbors,” Glover said. When given the option to pull his request in order to speak with them, he declined. “I appreciate the option, but we really need to move on.”
The commission disagreed, holding the request in committee for a month while the business owners iron out their differences. The commission voted 6-3 to table the request with Kimberly Gardner, Lee Washington and Matthew Brown voting against the request. Chairman Craig Cloud did not have to vote after six votes were attained, but he stated for the record that he would have voted to table the measure.
“I feel it is not my responsibility to deal with business between two parties,” Gardner said before voting against the tabling measure. “We are responsible to discuss what is before us and vote on it.”
In other business, the commission approved a PUD request, which would result in a new gated community. An area annexed last week could become Avalon heights, potentially a 9-lot neighborhood with a gate and guard house. No one spoke against the proposal during the public hearing.