Farmington residents struck by illness in the middle of the night may not have to go out of town in search of a 24-hour pharmacy anymore. That’s because the Town Plan and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a special permit Wednesday for Walgreens to build at the corner of Mill Street and South Main Street in Unionville and gave permission for the store to be open 24 hours, as long as the pharmacy is open.
The commission granted the approval to Sound Development LLC with the approval of local groups such as the Unionville Village Improvement Association after the developer agreed to make the building match as closely as possible the look of the old storefronts that had once stood in the center.
The 13,600-square-foot Walgreens would finally replace a pile of rocks that have stood on the site by the Farmington River with a building based on photographs of the old mill. It would be ADA-compliant and readily accessible to pedestrian traffic in Unionville, according to testimony given at prior meetings.
It also won the approval of tenant representatives of New Horizons Village when developers agreed to work with the group to accomodate tenants.
Town staff and the town traffic engineer have agreed that traffic impact on the area would be minimal since the developer has agreed to implement some changes at the intersection that were recommended by the Unionville Traffic Committee.
The zoning commission Wednesday night discussed whether a 24-hour pharmacy would be appropriate for the town, considering only two businesses – both gas stations – were approved for the hours.
“We don’t have a 24-hour drug store in town – I know because I’ve had to go out of town on occasion,” said Commission Chairman Phil Dunn. “Unless it was adjacent to a residential neighborhood we were concerned with, one would think it would be a benefit to the community to have a place open 24 hours in case they needed a prescription filled.”
Though the new CVS pharmacy, approved after a dispute with neighbors, is limited in hours, the commissioners agreed a 24-hour pharmacy in the Unionville location would serve the community and keep residents from having to travel Simsbury, Bristol or West Hartford.
Should the Walgreens, which will be operated by the Griffin family who formerly owned Ryan Pharmacy, decide not to keep its pharmacy open, the store’s hours would be limited to matching those of the nearby Stop & Shop.
The plan is also contingent upon meeting a list of conditions from the town engineering department.