The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 8, 2013

Pharmacy project gets tentative OK

JOHNSTOWN — A national pharmacy chain is on a fast track toward development in Richland Township.

Plans to build a CVS Pharmacy alongside Scalp Avenue cleared another key hurdle Tuesday, with a site plan to build the 13,200-square-foot retail location receiving the Richland Planning Commission’s tentative approval.

The board’s nod is contingent on the project receiving a required trio of state permit approvals – the only significant hurdles remaining before the pharmacy’s development can get underway, EADS engineer Donald Hultberg said.

Plans for the CVS show a location with a drive-thru window and parking for 67 vehicles.

The pharmacy would offer medical supplies, groceries and cosmetics, as well as seasonal items, toys and a photo lab, Hultberg has said.

The store would be the Rhode Island-based chain’s first in Cambria County and one of more than 7,000 across the nation.

But it would displace a local restaurant, Hong Kong Buffet, after the Richland eatery’s lease expires sometime next year, Hultberg told township zoning officials last month.

Hong Kong Buffet staff said Tuesday they – and customers – are disappointed to hear news of the development’s impact but referred questions regarding the restaurant’s future in the area to the buffet eatery’s owners, who have not been reached for comment.

Hultberg offered no construction timetable Tuesday but previously indicated it would not occur before spring at the earliest.

He told planning commission members that site demolition and building construction would occur “all at once.”

“They’ll have one contractor come in and bring it down and then get to work building (the pharmacy),” he said.

Applications are already submitted toward receiving two Department of Environmental Protection permits for the property and a PennDOT highway occupancy permit for access into the lot, Hultberg added. All three must be approved before a building permit can be issued, planning commission board President Keith Saylor said.

David Hurst covers Richland Township for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him for more news at www.twitter.com/tddavidhurst.

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