The Mitigated Negative Declaration/Initial Study for the new CVS/Pharmacy store in downtown Sebastopol at the 2.45 acre former Pellini Chevrolet site on the corner of Sebastopol and Petaluma Avenues has been posted on the City of Sebastopol website. The existing buildings will be demolished; the City would abandon the alley-like Barnes Avenue connecting to Abbot (by Frizelle Enos); and the new store, which will share the site with a new Chase Bank adjacent to Bennedetti Tires on Sebastopol Ave., will replace the current CVS/Pharmacy at Redwood Marketplace. CVS/Pharmacy owns that site and will presumably sell or redevelop it.

Former Pellini Chevrolet dealership

Former Pellini Chevrolet dealership

Although not mentioned in the study, CVS/Pharmacy proposes to upgrade the midblock crosswalk on Sebastopol Ave. from the store site to the NAPA Auto Parts store. This uncontrolled crosswalk is one of the most hazardous in the City; under the proposal, it would get bulbouts, embedded flashers and pavement treatment similar to the intersections upgraded through the Street Smart Sebastopol grants.

Other mitigation measures would be signal synchronization for the Sebastopol and Main intersection and restricting left turns at Bodega and High, since both are expected to be impacted by added traffic. They also propose allowing public parking at the south end of the site, opposite Frizelle Enos.

The report doesn’t discuss streetscape improvements, though the preliminary plans I saw call for the main street entrance to be a chamfered entry at the Petaluma/Sebastopol Ave. intersection, with a tall entry structure; presumably most of the customers would be entering from the parking lot on the south side. I don’t believe the walls on both streets would have street-level windows. If the Downtown Core Streetscape Guidelines aren’t in place by the time the project gets final approval (which seems likely, given the timing), we will need to ask for improvements directly as it goes through the approval process so we don’t end up with more unfriendly streetscape.

Depending on how much public parking will be available and how much demand the City anticipates in the future, could this be part of the key to developing the greenway between Ives Park and the Rodota Trail? The proposed greenway would likely mean some loss of parking spaces in the City-owned lot between Petaluma Ave. and Main Street, but would create a much-needed link between the trail and the park.

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