City panel, pharmacy reach compromise
Now that a compromise has been struck between the city and a business owner, construction likely will get under way soon after the first of the year on the new Holst Pharmacy building.
The structure is planned on the north side of U.S. 24-40 at its intersection with North Star Drive.
Plans for the building have been stalled for several weeks in the city's Site Review Committee, which was concerned the building's entrance faced away from the highway, as well as drainage, lighting and trash issues. At a meeting last Thursday night, owner Gary Holst met with committee members to hammer out an agreement.
Committee members said they were concerned that the building's entrance was on the northeast corner and that the south side of the building which would face the highway was essentially the rear of the structure.
Jeff Schroeder of Herman A. Scharhag Architects, Kansas City, Mo., designed the building.
"We felt like we had a building that looked good from every direction," Schroeder said.
Holst, Schroeder and committee members discussed several design options. Among them was moving the entrance to the center of the building's east wall. That idea, however, didn't do much for Holst.
"I don't like the entrance on the center of the building. I don't want to lose the marketing advantage I have by making people go through the whole store to reach the pharmacy," Holst said.
The turning point of the discussion came when city planner Linda Zacher suggested that Holst consider installing false windows on the south side of the building.
"That, at least, makes a bad situation better," said Kent Weatherby, a planning commission member who also sits on the site review committee.
After about 40 minutes of discussion, Holst agreed to:
Install two false windows on the south side of the building to break up the fae.
Move the trash container from the southeast corner to the northeast corner of the lot.
Install three low-level lights to improve illumination of the parking lot, as well as try to shine spotlights on the south side of the building to make it more inviting from the highway.
Decide on either a rip-rap or concrete drainageway to carry stormwater from the parking lot to a water detention area on the site.
"I think you're going to have a beautiful building," said committee member Larry Shepek, who also chairs the planning commission. "There's never been any question about that."
Schroeder said he anticipates work will begin on the structure in two to three weeks.