To start off the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Mark Hyman was nominated as Chair and Michael Pierce the Vice Chair as the board agreed to reorganize.
The ZBA than focused on the main topic of interest, the appeal of CVS moving in to 61 main street, which housed the former Colella's. The public hearing started off with a debate on if latecomers to the appeal, Hopkinton Drug owner Dennis Katz and resident Jason Mahon should be allowed to join after Mike Patel dropped from the appeal. After hearing both sides, the board moved the discussion to the issue at hand, whether CVS is a health services facility (which is not allowed in the downtown area) or is specifically a retail business and would be allowed in the downtown business district.
Attorney Eric Goldberg representing the appellants of the CVS argued that CVS through its advertising, marketing materials and own filings markets themselves as a healthcare facility. "Their argument is that we are not a healthcare services facility so we don't get bogged down on that quagmire but what we are proposing to install in that existing space is a retail store and the pharmacy is simply an accessory to a principal retail use, and that's a fallacy."
Licensed Pharmacist Todd Brown who is also "Executive Director of Massachusetts Independent Pharmacist Association" testified on behalf of the appellants stating that pharmacies are responsible to provide information and advise about medication and provide what is beyond a retail service. "If they don't do these services, if they don't evaluate the drug therapy or if they don't educate the patient appropriately on the use of the medication they're actually held liable.. so these are not services that you would think just a normal retail establishment would provide."
Hopkinton's Assistant Building Inspector Mike Shepard argued that despite being a pharmacy CVS is a retail facility. "Of course they dispense drugs that's obvious, whether CVS sells film, lipstick and hearing aids, it doesn't matter, they sell it all at retail."
Marisa Pizzi, one of the Attorneys representing Crosspoint Associates (Leaser of 61 Main Street to CVS) argued the services provided by the parent company CVS health are getting grouped in with the purpose of the retail stores: "the types of services that may be provided by CVS health, the parent association is not relevant. CVS Pharmacy Inc. is a registered foreign corporation in Massachusetts and it's registered for the purpose of doing business as a retail pharmacy chain."
After 3 hours of discussion the public hearing ran out of time and will continue at town hall, 7pm Wednesday October 14. See highlights in the video below.