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Drive-thru proposal revived for Petaluma Walgreens

The Petaluma Health Care District has submitted another application for a Walgreens drive-thru pharmacy, although city leaders have twice indicated it won't be approved.

The city Planning Commission last year denied the district's request for a general plan amendment and zoning changes for the district's project, called Lynch Creek Plaza, across the street from Petaluma Valley Hospital.

The district appealed the rejections, and in meetings last year and earlier this year, City Council members told developers that a drive-thru component wouldn't be approved. They were otherwise supportive of the project.

Developers working with the hospital board argued for an exception to the city's ban on drive-up lanes, saying it was an important convenience for Walgreens' customers and patients being treated at the hospital.

But a staff report on the latest application says the revised plans include minor design modifications but retain the drive-thru component.

City Manager John Brown and council members told developers in January that a drive-thru, expressly prohibited in the city's planning rules, was "dead in the water" and that they should seek alternative ways to deliver medicines to customers wanting the window convenience.

It's unclear what in the latest proposal developers think may convince city leaders to change their minds.

"The applicant is seeking reconsideration of the proposed project with retention of the drive- thru," the report states. "The applicant has not removed the drive-thru component or modified the original site layout from the version previously reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council."

Hospital district CEO Ramona Faith and Browman Development spokesman Jim Stephens could not be reached last week for comment.

City staff's recommendation is to again reject the proposal.


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