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CVS project zips along
Construction is occurring at a fast pace to construct the new CVS Pharmacy on Hatch Road. It appears to be the only commercial construction project on the horizon as Ceres enters a new year.

The work has included removing the open canal along the north side of Hatch Road and replacing it with underground piping.

In May the Ceres City Council approved the project for the northwest corner of Hatch Road and Central Avenue after considerable debate about traffic impacts. A general plan amendment, a prezone from residential to Neighborhood Commercial and an architectural and site plan were approved.

CVS is building a 16,813-square-foot pharmacy immediately west of the Walgreen's, complete with double pharmacy drive-thru lanes. The company plans to abandon its 1970s-era CVS store at 1640 E. Hatch Road to make it more profitable.

Concerns about the project aggravating existing traffic congestion at the intersection resulted in the project being delayed and later modified between the Planning Commission and City Council. The design calls for CVS to offer a southbound Central Avenue dedicated right turn lane for westbound Hatch Road maneuvering, a through lane to proceed down Central Avenue and a left-turn-only lane for eastbound Hatch Road.

The new project will create a new concrete median on Hatch Road that would prevent left turns onto eastbound Hatch Road from the CVS parking lot. However, the median would allow cars to turn left into the parking lot from eastbound Hatch Road. Traffic would be allowed to make right-in turns from westbound travelers and right-out turns onto westbound Hatch Road.

A number of commercial projects have been approved by the city but are on hold mostly because of the bad economy. The economy has placed a chill on plans of Hampton Inn & Suites to build a 162-room motel after its approval in 2008. The project was approved as part of a split of 16 acres into nine parcels at the southwest corner of Service and Mitchell roads. Planners also approved development of six buildings totalling 25,955 square feet for two fast food restaurants, retail space and gas mart.

Also approved in 2008 but never constructed was a 4,200 square foot Washington Mutual bank as part of a three-building development at Mitchell south of Rosewood.

A project that is raring to go is the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center and anchor tenant Walmart Supercenter which are being held up in court. A group calling themselves Citizens for Ceres is suing the city, challenging the extensive environmental review process as incomplete.