Topeka Planning Commission considers rezoning neighborhood for Walgreens

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) The Walgreens at 29th and Gage in Topeka is trying to move right across the street to a residential area, Monday night, people who live there could talk about it to the city.

This idea for a new Walgreens right across the street from the existing Walgreens started just last month, in May. Monday night, about a dozen people got up in front of the Topeka Planning Commission to speak their opinions on re-zoning the residential area into a commercial space.

“To take peoples homes and stuff like that, i just can’t see that,” said Melba Mitchell, resident against the proposal.

Melba Mitchell has lived in the neighborhood for 44 years. For her, it would be detrimental to see her neighborhood change just to have a new Walgreens in its place.

“We don’t need something else at that corner,” said Mitchell.

The Walgreens at 29th and Gage wants to move from the Southwest corner of the intersection to a new store in the Northwest corner of the intersection there. The main reason for the move is that Walgreens wants a Drive-thru pharmacy pick up.

“If I had that in my backyard, yes i would still make that my decision since we’ve had so much problems, and the homes there just have not been kept up,” said Cynthia Greene, resident for the project.

At Monday night’s public hearing, the main problem that came up was about traffic flow in that area. The proposal would change the zoning for 11 properties, from residential to Planned Unit Development for commercial uses. Of those 11 properties that would be effected, three of them are non-rental properties. Residents for the demolition of those 11 homes say it is worth it to get rid of crime in that area.

“I think that would force it to clean up that area, since the back half of 28th Terrace is not a problem,” said Mitchell.

“I cannot see Walgreens going across the street just because they want to have a drive up window,” said Greene.

The zoning committee voted to postpone the decision until they get a better traffic study of the area. They will hold one more public hearing by August before they decide whether or not to send it to City Council.

The area has been zoned as a single family dwelling since 1951.

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