So we’ll see if Ptown makes out any better than Wellfleet in getting respect for its more-or-less identical formula business bylaw (FBB). The town’s zoning board of appeals turned down CVS’s special permit and the company’s lawyer says they will appeal.
The lawyer says that the exterior of the new store will be visually unobjectionable, with only a smallish sign. But as the formula business bylaw makes clear, it is not the look of a chain that’s the issue, it’s its formulaic, cookie cutter, nonlocal reality that threaten the heart and soul of our towns.
As with Cumberland Farms in Wellfleet, almost all of those speaking about the proposed CVS in Ptown think that the large, non-local chain will be bad for the character of town, and bad for local business, including the vital Outer Cape Health Services, which depends financially on its pharmacy.
The Provincetown Banner’s spirited editorial of June 15th says the town should fight CVS in court if necessary, and mentions another weapon available to an underdog town. In 2012 on Nantucket 4500 citizens signed a petition declaring “we will not shop at a CVS on Nantucket.” As a result, according to the paper, “the corporation pulled its plans to open a store there.”
Ptown too, the editorial ends, “should let CVS know that it has no business in Provincetown.”
Let Wellfleet be inspired by the examples of Ptown and Nantucket. Wellfleet is now being sued by the corporation over the town’s denial of a permit for a gas station. This issue has nothing to do with the FBB. The selectmen, the legally responsible guardians of our public health and safety, have decided that a third gas station in that already congested stretch of Route 6 is not in the interests of this town (an opinion agreed with by virtually everyone who has spoken about the matter). So it’s hard to see on what basis this is even in court.
If a judge does decide in favor of the company against the town, let’s hope that Wellfleet citizens can muster as much fight as those Nantucket petitioners. In fact, a boycott petition should be circulating right now to show Cumberland Farms what we think of its greedy determination to override the perceived self-interests of our whole town.