Walgreens wins parking rights

By: Stephanie Dumm Lincoln News Reporter
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The proposed Walgreens in Lincoln will be able to put up no-parking signage. City Council voted Tuesday night to approve an amendment to a previous council resolution that will be “providing relief from the ‘No Parking’ signage restriction related to a proposed Walgreens store,” according to the meeting agenda. All five members of the City Council approved the amendment. If built, Walgreens will be located on Twelve Bridges Drive at the Stone Tower Plaza currently being built. “Walgreens can now restrict the parking to only their customers,” Mayor Spencer Short said after the meeting “I don’t know that they will be doing that,” Short added. “They have that ability (to restrict parking) without coming back to the council.” He said the decision made Tuesday was the “whole point of them coming back” because “the developer asked the city to consider previous actions, which is what we did.” In September, City Council had approved removing the reciprocal-parking policy but refused to allow signage saying that the businesses could tow cars parked contrary to the nonreciprocal nature of the parking. Richard Thurn, the attorney representing Jackson Properties, the site’s property owner; said during Tuesday night’s meeting that Walgreen’s would like to be able to control the property. “I can’t imagine Walgreen’s is never going to place a ‘No Parking’ sign,” Thurn said, and gave an example of Walgreen’s being concerned that the professional building sharing the property with Walgreens will become a gym and overload the parking lot. Previous News Messenger reports quoted Walgreens officials as saying that it did not want parking spaces being taken up by cars that did not belong to Walgreens customers. “The project itself looks like it will be an economic boost for the city of Lincoln,” City Councilman Kent Nakata said Tuesday, adding that he knew of residents wanting a nearby pharmacy with longer hours. “Now with service being here, we’ll find a lot of people supportive of the project.” When he recently visited the Walgreens in Rocklin, which shares its parking lot with a fitness center and bank, Nakata added, there were “no signs saying no parking.” “If we make an exception to this, (it) is an exception,” City Councilman Tom Cosgrove said. “We want walkable retail centers,” Cosgrove said. “We have a policy for reciprocal parking for a reason. It helps us be able to reduce the footprint of asphalt in retail and commercial areas.” He also said the policy “makes it convenient to walk from one business to another,” without shoppers moving their cars. “Once (Walgreens) is built and we have the professional building, how do I know which is the right place to park,” Cosgrove asked Thurn during the meeting. Thurn’s reply was that “it is only a problem if you park your car there overnight.” During the meeting, Short said that he supports the project, which is the possible Walgreens. “I think this is a great project for positive economic growth for the city and community,” Short said.