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CVS layout suggests weak City design standards

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)

Published July 21, 2009

If the approved layout for the new CVS convenience store to be built next to Stambaugh Auditorium on Fifth Avenue is any indication, the City of Youngstown has weak design standards to begin with and either too little power to enforce appropriate design or too much desperation in approving any kind of development.

Plan for CVS on Fifth Avenue 

The layout is simply inappropriate for an urban environment, particularly one with such a richly historic setting as the North Side's Wick Park neighborhood. The store is set back, separated from the street by its parking lot and a "Landscape Area Per Youngstown Regulations." I'm anxious to find out what these regulations are and whether they will amount to more than the three trees depicted in the sketch.

The store should front directly on Fifth Avenue and the West Bound Service Road, ensuring the parking is visually obscured behind it and a more walker-friendly setting is created.

Park Avenue is to be converted to a two-way street. Will it revert to one-way on nights with Stambaugh events? That traffic is already a strain, and the (admittedly unsecured) parking that exists currently on the northwest corner of that lot will be removed. Just today I noticed the medical building on the southwest corner has been demolished.

In addition to questions of footprint, however, the more questionable result of all this is the choice of elevation, which is labeled "Desert Bluff." I had enough desert elevations in Tucson and came back here for the history. Unfortunately, the desert followed me and is now immediately adjacent to Stambaugh.

CVS elevations for new Fifth Avenue store


We should not be so desperate for development that we approve whatever is sent our way. We must develop design standards that represent the best of what we still have, and we must ensure they are adhered to. If a developer threatens to walk away if their cheaper design doesn't get approved, we should let them. It's a desirable enough location for both urban residents and University students, that another pharmacy would have come and bid for it if CVS ended up passing.

If we keep accepting crap, that's all we'll have. 



1leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

You know, not everyone on the north side thinks like you do. Many of us, who moved here (long before you did) to live in peace and inexpensive comfort, are thrilled to see the CVS coming (and Walmart). As for the design of the building - again, many of us have no problems with it. In fact, some of us consider Stambaugh Auditorium to be an ugly, gray, dingy looking old hulk. Frankly, the CVS will be a welcome sight. Now, if we could just get a Sheetz gas station in the general area - (maybe by St. E's on Belmont?) life would be close to perfect.

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2ksem(23 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

"In fact, some of us consider Stambaugh Auditorium to be an ugly, gray, dingy looking old hulk."

Wow, you are right. It is indeed a hideous piece of architecture. And to think, some of us consider Stambaugh to be a historic gem.




Visited the gardens recently and they are b-e-a-utiful!

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3jcrews(7 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I gasped when I read leaveusalone's description of the beautiful and stately Stambaugh Auditorium. I love 5th Avenue and Youngstown for the incredible old homes and history.

One of the reasons I love visiting Hilton Head Island is the architectural standards - strictly enforced - that require all construction to blend into the nature and beauty of the island. CVS has a remarkable opportunity here to break out of their modern non-descript architecture and blend into the beauty and history that is 5th Avenue and Youngstown.

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4epicfail(217 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Cheers to clarkkent. Well said!

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5valleypoboy(220 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

That's right - if you can't come down to the level of the posted messages here, you need to leave. How dare you speak up for something better and some standards.
Poland fought with Walgreens and got a much better result. As has been said, if you're content with crap, that is exactly what you will get - now and always.

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6MikePrelee(38 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

I've lived in Brookfield and when it was time to give up the trailer and buy a house, I moved to a place with zoning. How can your property values hold up when Dollar General throws up pre-fab steel buildings or someone plunks an automated car wash down next to your house? You've got to have standards if you want your community to be a decent place to live. Tyler's comments are right on the money. I'm pleased CVS sees opportunity in Youngstown and is willing to develop but this design could be better. A building utilizing warmer colors, masonry and rear parking would help the neighborhood. The proposed building just looks out of place. Youngstown doesn't have to be desperate just because its hard up.

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7WilliamP(70 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Once again the City proves its short term vision. (And please save the 2010 talk; 2010 is, at best, a poorly articulated and completely undeveloped IDEA and PR piece, not a PLAN.) The entire "plan" is a book of maps that makes tangential allusions to smart shrinkage.
Also, if you want to see a REALLY ridiculous design drive down Michigan Avenue from Park Ave and look at the apt buildings allowed to be built on the right hand side. Who allowed that? They ought to be fired or removed. I lived on Michigan while at YSU and would have much preferred the vacant lot that sat there than that new ugliness. The City government works for the people. Make your voices heard and take it to the Mayor, who ultimately controls these decisions via departmental appointments and their employees.

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