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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Some council members question CVS deal

  • Though there appears to be an agreement between Honesdale Borough and CVS Pharmacy about its new location, some questions remain.
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     — Though there appears to be an agreement between Honesdale Borough and CVS Pharmacy about its new location, some questions remain.
    One of those questions involves a development agreement between CVS and the borough. That agreement is dated Dec. 19 and was signed by council president F.J. Monaghan and Michael W. Buckless, vice president of Pennsylvania CVS Pharmacy.
    In the agreement, it says "within 14 days" of the agreement, CVS "shall submit" to the borough revised traffic plans for the 4th and Main street intersection.
    As of Friday, it had been 23 days since the agreement was signed.
    The intersection was the crux of a heated debate recently which ended in a 4-3 vote by the council. In that vote, the council voted to allow CVS and the borough to sign a development agreement.
    In turn, the borough signed over the traffic mylars, which are the documents which control the traffic lights at the intersection. The borough holds the rights to all traffic signal intersections but turning it over to CVS. The company agreed to reconfigure the intersection, but that depends on approval by PennDOT. Should PennDOT not approve the plans, it allows CVS to go back to its original plans, which calls for three lanes coming off of Main Street but no widening of the corner.
    What signing the development agreement essentially did was give clearance for CVS to move forward with the project of constructing a new store.
    But councilman Harry DeVrieze, chairman of the zoning committee, said he is not pleased with the fact CVS has essentially "violated its own agreement."
    DeVrieze cited the "hullabaloo" during the controversy in which CVS wanted a "date certain" to have all of the agreements signed and in place. The council held a special meeting in order to accommodate CVS.
    "Legally and morally, the agreement is broken," said DeVrieze.
    Though DeVrieze said he is not going to make a motion at Monday night's meeting to rescind the agreement, he did say he would second such a motion.
    Councilman Scott Smith, chairman of the finance committee, said on Friday he has been in contact with CVS officials and they said an electronic version of the plans should be at borough hall by Monday.
    Smith said because of the holidays, it was his understanding CVS didn't want to make people have to travel in order to get all of the information collected about the intersection.
    He said surveying of the intersection has been taking place and that is likely why CVS will have an electronic version of the drawings at Monday's meeting. He said they are supposed to have hard copies of the agreement by Tuesday.
    Page 2 of 2 - Councilman Bob Jennings, chairman of the borough safety committee, said he thinks it is unacceptable that CVS did not provide the drawings within 14 days.
    "My position is they have not lived up to their agreement," said Jennings. "Appropriate action should be taken by council and address this issue in court."
    Does Jennings think the agreement should be null and void?
    "Yes," he said. "I'm elected to serve the people. There is no excuse for this to happen."
    DeVrieze said what angers him the most in this situation is the fact the council gave considerations to CVS when they wanted the agreement done by a certain date.
    "There was the ramrodding they did wanting this by Dec. 2 which was some magical date set by them," said DeVrieze.
    Then, he said, they have now violated their own agreement but want the council to live with that situation.
    "I makes me a little bit suspicious," said DeVrieze. "The door might not swing both ways for us."
    DeVrieze believes "any attorney or any judge" would say, "That agreement is out the door."
    He did say he would give CVS the benefit of the doubt and hopes they have the full set of plans "in the next few days. I want to see the full set of plans."
    Borough solicitor Rich Henry said Friday it was his understanding that CVS was "finishing the field work" relating to the expanded turning radius at the intersection.
    He also said it is his "impression" that CVS is "past the 14 days" as required in the agreement.
    "It appears as though they are taking steps to finalize the plans," Henry said.
    Henry said under the agreement, once the borough receives the plans, then their engineer has seven days to review it and make comments.
    The borough engineer is Mary Bogart of Bogart Engineering in Moscow.
    Smith said it was his understanding that Bogart did receive some sort of "early draft" of the plan and did make comments to CVS engineers.
    When asked if the subject would be on Monday's agenda, Smith said it likely will only be an announcement that the plans have been received.
    DeVrieze said if the plans are provided, he would "expect" CVS to allow the borough to have additional time since CVS took more time and violated its own agreement.
    And there's another issue which DeVrieze says he is not happy about.
    "I'm angered some members of the council don't listen to our engineer and attorney," he said. "In fact, they go against them."
    The borough council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at borough hall.
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