It is unlikely that zoning restrictions will impede the progress of a Walgreens drug store planned to open next year in Laurinburg, officials say.
Located near Walmart, the potential site is the only undeveloped corner at the intersection of West Boulevard and U.S. 401. No date of construction has been set as of yet, but Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger said that the chain plans to open the store in the spring of 2014.
“We look for the best corner locations to build our drugstores,” Elfinger said. “We look at the traffic patterns, both vehicular and pedestrian, and we thought we’d found a really good location on Highway 401.”
Elfinger added that Walgreens stores typically employ between 20 and 25 people.
According to city Planning Director Brandi Deese, an existing conditional-use permit allowing retail stores in the previously residential area was issued in 2009 when a Staples store was under consideration.
“The conditional use permit process actually runs with the land, as long as they live up to the conditions of the permit and there are no significant variances in the plot that was approved,” Deese said.
Rockingham-based developer CBS, LLC was slated to build the Staples location, and remains listed as the owner of the site. The Walgreens site plan, including a 50-foot buffer between the store and the neighboring Westwood residential area, has been approved by the city’s development department. However, the developer has yet to apply for a building permit.
“A site plan was approved with 50 foot buffers and all of the detail on the site plan that was approved, they’ll have to stay in line with that,” Deese said. “If they wanted to increase the size of the store or do away with some of the buffer, they would have to reapply and get council approval.”