By John Burton
RED BANK – The application to locate a Walgreens pharmacy on Broad Street will continue to be heard before the planning board on Dec. 16 when members expect to hear from traffic experts and results of various study findings.
Board members listened Monday night to a Walgreens district manager who spoke in support of the application by Mark Development, Inc. for a pharmacy to be located at the southern end of Broad Street at the former Rassas Buick site.
As the manager, James Burke, talked about the pharmacy’s operations, skeptical area residents listened intently and then used their questions to couch their issues with the proposal.
Burke, who oversees 35 of the 135 Walgreens operating in New Jersey, told the audience and board members that the proposed 14,200 square feet location would be “a little smaller footprint” than most of the other locations. The average location is about 15,000 square feet, he said.
The store, like about 30 in his district, would have the drive-through window for prescription drop-offs and pick-ups. The convenience, Burke said, tends to attract seniors, parents with small children or customers not feeling well enough to go into the store. Those customers take about two minutes to drop off their prescriptions and another two to three minutes for pickup.
“There is noise,” associated with the drive-through, with the use of the intercom, but that would be about the level of normal conversations, Burke said.
The location, like others in the chain, would likely see between 34 and 50 customers on an average hour.
Burke said the store would have two tracker-trailer deliveries a week from the company warehouse, which would take about 1½ hours to unload. The store also would get about 12 to 15 deliveries a week from vendors, which usually take approximately 15 minutes to get off the truck and then onto the shelves, according to Burke.
The Walgreens is being considered for the former Rassas auto dealership location on Broad Street at the Little Silver/Red Bank border, which is zoned for commercial use.
Homeowners in both Red Bank and Little Silver, who live in the residential neighborhood located directly behind the site, have been voicing concern and objections over the pharmacy. They have said a large and busy retail operation on an already busy intersection, would mean spilling more traffic into their neighborhood, adding noise and distractions and impacting their quality of life.
“This is close to my house,” said Angela Mirandi, who lives on the Red Bank end of West Lake Road, located behind the site. “I don’t care what they say, this will be an inconvenience to our life.”