Questions about the future of a small, locally owned pharmacy in Yonkers were raised by neighborhood residents during a March 26 Yonkers City Council hearing on a rezoning application that would permit a CVS Pharmacy to be developed a short distance away. The site in question includes a lot at 13 Culver St. and a portion of a lot at 372 Riverdale Ave. The local drugstore, Oaks Pharmacy, is at 417 Riverdale Ave.
Lucia Chiocchio, a partner at the White Plains-based law firm Cuddy & Feder LLP, represented CVS Pharmacy and T.M. Crowley & Associates during the hearing.
“What we have now is a concept plan for the CVS, so the premises need to be rezoned, which is a city council action,” she said. The parcels are zoned M and the application asks that they be rezoned to BA, general business and apartment houses-high density.
Chiocchio explained that the rezoning application had been referred by the council to the city’s planning board last fall, and the board subsequently recommended that the council go ahead with the rezoning.
“If the city council grants the petition for rezoning, once the rezoning is done, then we move forward with the planning board for site plan approval,” she said.
Paul James, owner of Oaks Pharmacy, was one of a half-dozen residents who spoke. He said he had owned Oaks Pharmacy for five years and there also were other local businesses that he felt would be hurt by a CVS. “What am I gonna do? Close?”
Diane Lane, a Riverdale Avenue resident, told the council she was delighted when Oaks Pharmacy took over because the area needed a small neighborhood pharmacy.
“I feel like we really have to fight for the mom-and-pop people because they’re a dying breed.” She described Paul James as very warm and receptive adding, “I can’t imagine that you’d get that at a regular type of pharmacy.”
Arlene Richardson, a Culver Street resident, said there are two schools close to the site and asked about planning “for crossings and kids going to school and what preparation is being made for their safety.”
Lourdes Delacruz, a Culver Street resident, expressed concern about increased traffic. “We don’t know if a business of this magnitude should be there and we would like you guys to consider the fact that a CVS coming to a residential area, how would that affect the families and people who already live there?”
John Burkhardt, who also lives on Culver Street, said he’s reserving judgment on the project but “so far it sounds OK to me.”
The hearing was adjourned.