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ArlingtonBusinessVienna planning body irked at bank plan for ATM

Vienna planning body irked at bank plan for ATM

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Chase Bank’s application to build a freestanding, two-lane, drive-up ATM facility at a new bank at Maple Avenue Shopping Center will go to the Vienna Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) without a favorable recommendation from the town’s Planning Commission.

Commissioners voted 5-1 on Aug. 25 to recommend against the proposal, citing disagreements over the ATM facility’s location.

Chase Bank is seeking a conditional-use permit from the BZA to build the ATM facility at a new 3,300-square-foot commercial bank it plans to construct on 10.43 acres at 315 Maple Ave., E.

The proposed drive-through ATM lanes would be located on the building’s west side, away from any pedestrian sidewalks and crossings. The applicant is not proposing any new curb cuts at the site.

The parcel, owned by GRI Maple Avenue LLC, currently is home to a single-story, 6,400-square-foot building that had been occupied by a since-closed Outback Steakhouse restaurant. That building would be razed to make way for the new bank, which would be located closer to Maple Avenue, E.

Town staff thought the proposal was too automobile-centric and recommended that the bank provide a more pedestrian-oriented design by placing the building closer to the intersection at Maple Avenue, E., and Glyndon Street, S.E.

The applicant instead has offered to include more screening around the ATM facility, including landscaping and a “knee” wall, and provide a pedestrian-seating area at that intersection.

Chase Bank officials have proposed to operate the bank from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The ATM facility would operate around the clock.

Town planning staff do not anticipate that the bank would have any significant impacts on the surrounding transportation network. The bank would be located about 500 feet from residential condominiums on Locust Street, S.E., and noise impacts from the facility would be minimal, the applicant said.

But the ATM’s location proved an insurmountable sticking point.

“To me, this emphasizes too much the ATM and the drive-through by putting it right on [Route] 123, and I’m not in favor of that,” said Planning Commission Chairman Stephen Kenney.

Kenney suggested flip-flopping the ATM facility with the main bank building in order to screen it better from Maple Avenue.

“I cannot think of any drive-throughs that are parallel to 123 or are on the street side up and down Maple Avenue,” he said. “They’re either perpendicular to 123 or behind a building.”

Commission Vice Chairman David Miller agreed, saying the ATM facility need to be moved to the bank’s back.

“You’re smart people. You can hire good architects and figure it out,” Miller to told the applicant’s representative. “You will not get my vote as long as that is in front of the building. Full stop.”

“I don’t think it’s the highest-and-best use for the area,” said Commissioner Andrew Meren.

Commissioner Jessica Plowgian also thought the ATM area should be moved farther away from Maple Avenue and preferably behind the building.

Commissioner Keith Aimone added that the current proposal was “not as presentable as we’d like.”

Commissioner David Patariu, who was the only member who voted in favor of the application, disagreed, saying locating the ATM facility behind the building would put it closer to other traffic using the shopping center.

Commission member Sharon Baum was absent from the meeting.

Bank officials will review the Planning Commission’s comments before appearing at BZA Sept. 14, said Michelle Rosati, the applicant’s attorney.

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