Greenhouse Development got the OK to build a drug store and four drive-throughs at U.S. 421 and County Road 300 South, but not without community resistance.

Approval came at a Boone County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting last week. At that meeting, Mike Deiss, representing the Countrywood Neighborhood Association, brought up concerns about keeping the “rural character of the area” and the possibility of bringing in more crime.

“I don’t want thieves and drug addicts to be quite literally in our backyard,” Deiss said, “especially with the police 15 miles away.”

The BZA had heard and tabled the special exception request for the drug store, which isn’t allowed in local business zoning, at the Oct. 22 meeting. This time, they unanimously approved the drug store without much discussion.

“I understand the neighbors’ concerns,” board member Kevin Schiferl said. “But why plead (keeping the rural character) now? This intersection will soon be four lanes. This area doesn’t have a rural character.”

Conditions for the drug store included:

n It must have access to U.S. 421;

n It be the only 24-hour business, except for emergency medical services;

n Car lights must be directed away from the neighborhood at the drive-through; and

n A wall must run from property line to property line to hide the store from view.

Discussion before the board approved the drive-throughs was more involved. Board members struggled with understanding the need for some businesses to have drive-through lanes and the desire of neighbors to not have exhaust from idling vehicles drifting through their backyards.

Greenhouse Development asked for five variances to allow one drive-through lane for a business yet to be determined; two lanes for the proposed drug store; four lanes for a bank branch; another four lanes for another bank branch, and one lane for a proposed coffee shop.

“We’re not going to have any fast food restaurants here,” said Kent Frandsen, attorney representing Greenhouse Development. “But things have changed the last five years. If you’re going to be a viable shopping center, you need drive-through traffic.”

Greenhouse Development worked hard to make the drive-throughs as minimal as possible, Frandsen said, and to totally hide them from the view of the nearby neighborhood.

Countrywood resident George Abel asked the board to keep the past in mind, as the Area Plan Commission had rejected these drive-throughs once before.

“It would add to the traffic, noise, pollution — things that can’t be buffered,” Abel said.

Board member June Nickels called the number of lanes proposed “overkill.”

The CVS drug store at Anson, she said, has two lanes, but they only ever use one. Schiferl also questioned the need for two drug store lanes, and the four proposed lanes at the bank branches. The State Bank of Lizton has four lanes, he said, but they never use all four.

“Maybe it’s time we stop putting in so many drive-throughs and get off our butts and walk into a store,” Schiferl said.

Brian Knapp of Greenhouse Development interjected, saying they would be willing to eliminate one lane from each proposed bank branch and one lane from the drug store. He assured the board there will be no fast food restaurants, no convenience stores, no gas stations and no liquor stores.

Quella Rutledge, board president, reminded board members that the lanes at the proposed bank branches would be daytime traffic and likely not to bother families at home in the evenings.

A one-lane drive-through for a yet-to-be-determined business, was denied 3-1 with Rutledge dissenting. But a drive-through for the proposed drug store was unanimously approved for one lane, limited to the use of a pharmacy or drug store. Variances three and four, for the bank branches, were approved 3-1, with Mike Hancock dissenting, for three lanes each, limited to the use of a bank. Variance five, one lane for the proposed coffee shop, was unanimously approved.

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