, Gloucester, MA

June 19, 2013

Editorial: Pharmacy plan deserves town support

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — No, it likely won’t be greeted with the same enthusiasm with which Rockporters would like welcome a new grocery store of their own.

But by all counts, the opening of a proposed new independent pharmacy and medical supply store planned for the site of the current Blue Gate Gardens florist and tree nursery on Main Street would be a boost for consumers, and it should be a more than reasonable fit into its generally residential surroundings. We can only hope the project will garner the approvals it needs when it goes before the town’s Board of Appeals next Tuesday night.

The plans for the new pharmacy – which would sell a number of food items but would hardly qualify as a grocery store — is being advanced by Rockport residents Amber and Nenad Bazdar, who have plans to buy out 36-year Blue Gate owners John and Diane Wonson, take down the existing building, then construct their new Sandy Bay Apothecary, with roughly 3,000 square feet on two floors over a quarter acre on the site.

But lest that raise the all-too-familiar Rockport development red flags, the Bazdars’ plans show the pharmacy built into what will look like a house, which would indeed be a good aesthetic fit for the neighborhood.

All too often, Rockport’s boards and committees have shown an affinity for throwing up obstacles to new development and changes to private property, most notably through the town’s site plan review process that can needlessly stall even projects that meet the town’s permitting requirements.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen this time; this project seems like a winner for the Bazdars, the Wonsons and Rockport’s consumers alike, and it deserves town officials’ support.