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Not much to celebrate with new CVS

Winchester will soon see the opening of the new CVS at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Maple Street.

Unfortunately, this is not going to be an opening to be celebrated, at least for me, and there are several reasons why.

One, a perfectly good building was demolished to make way for this new structure.

The former Clark County Bank, which became Kentucky Bank, was a building that was not only a unique piece of architecture, it was a sturdy edifice which had not — by a long shot — reached the end of its useful life.

It may have become too large for the necessary bank services, but it was a building which could have found other uses.

It also occupied that site, bordered by Maple, Lexington Avenue, Wall Alley and Ogden Alley with a certain amount of grace, even providing some much-needed green space at that corner.

It is abhorrent to tear down perfectly useful buildings in order to build something new, especially when the new offering is much less graceful and less amenable to its setting.

Additionally, the new CVS is pretty much a “cookie cutter” copy of other CVSs everywhere, constructed of concrete block and without any redeeming architectural characteristics.

Also, the move of CVS from the corner of West Broadway and Maple streets places it in a location more removed from the people who probably frequented the business.

The move has resulted in far fewer parking spaces than were available in the previous location.

Being located directly across the street from a high rise elderly residence placed it in an ideal place to serve the needs of those residents as well as a good many people living north and west of that intersection, people who now must travel farther to obtain those services.

The design of the building and its placement on the lot will create two very distinct disadvantages — one dangerous, the other inconvenient.

In the first case, the drive-up window is located on the west side of the building and people using it must exit the site into Ogden Allen. The building is set right at the edge of the alley. Exiting cars cannot see any vehicles coming from the east until they are well into the alley.

Secondly, one of the new exit/entries to and from the parking lot is located very close to the intersection of Lexington Avenue and Maple Street. With cars backed up by the light at that intersection, it will be virtually impossible for anyone to exit the site without being allowed out by someone in traffic.

A source indicated CVS was offered the opportunity to reduce the number of parking spaces so as to move that entry farther from the intersection, but that corporate was not amenable to creating fewer spaces.

This is not how planning works. At least, it’s not how planning should work. The purpose of planning is to aid development to not only create buildings and spaces that fit into their surroundings and environment, but to do so in a manner which provides safety and rationale to the people using the facility as well as those who might be affected by its use.

Clearly locating CVS at this location, considering the size of the building, its lack of any architectural considerations for its surroundings, the destruction of a viable structure and site planning which is going to create problems for many years to come, has been a poor decision and should not have been facilitated by the absence of additional requirements to guarantee the safety and efficacy of the people who will be patronizing the business.

The lack of design guidelines here contributed to this undesirable situation.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.