Planning Board Approves Bank Kiosk, Future Of Project Uncertain

7-14-15 meeting (Bank of America) Welch1

Matt Welch, an engineer hired by Bank of America, explains the bank’s proposal to the Planning Board.

Bank of America won Planning Board approval July 14 to erect a standalone drive-through ATM kiosk in a Hamilton Street parking lot, but it remains to be seen whether the company will go ahead with the project.

That’s because in approving the plan, the board required Bank of America to abide by all suggestions included in township planning staff reports, including moving the kiosk deeper into the lot than the company wants to.

Staff also wants B of A to provide more and different landscaping than the company had planned, and to reduce the width of the planned drive-through lane.

The staff had no problem with sign variances requested by Bank of America, which would allow a sign to be wrapped around the kiosk so it would be visible on all sides.

The project would be located in the John’s Plaza parking lot on Hamilton Street, and would take up the space of about 11 parking slots, Matt Welch, Bank of America’s engineer, told the board.

“The existing parking supply exceeds the requirement by 30 stalls,” Welch said. “There won’t be any lack of parking.”

The company wants to “take advantage of the banking technology that has evolved over the last few years” and install a kiosk at that location, he said.

The kiosk would be on a concrete island, at the the drive-through lane would be long enough to accommodate three vehicles, he said.

He said other kiosk locations “typically” see about 15 vehicles per hour.

The kiosk would be illuminated by an additional six light poles for security. Welch said the lights would be shielded to minimize spillage onto Hamilton Street.

The company wants to erect landscaped islands on either side of the kiosk with low-lying shrubbery, Welch said. He said Bank of America policy prohibits large plants or trees from obscuring the kiosk, which is a security concern.

Vince Dominach, the township’s chief zoning officer and also the executive director of the Hamilton Street Advisory Board, told the planning board that the Hamilton Street group has some issues with the project’s site plan.

He said the HSAB wants more landscaping, including trees, and wants the kiosk moved away from the sidewalk.

But those changes would require major changes to the project’s site plan, Welch said, “which is more than the applicant wants to do.”

Welch said that given the small size of the project, Bank of America thinks the proposed landscaping “is adequate.”

“We’re trying to get things not up on the street like that,” Planning Board chairman Michael Orsini said. Moving the project back would make room for the additional landscaping the HSAB wants, he said.

“We really do want streetscape standards adhered to,” Orsini said.

“While we appreciate the bank’s desires, we have our own desires,” board member James Pettit said. “I think you can read the writing on the wall. We’re trying to improve the streetscape of Hamilton Street.”

“Having that thing sit on the street is an eyesore,” he said.

Dominach told Welch that the bank’s policies regarding landscaping “is not the board’s concern.”

Diane Hickey, Bank of America’s attorney, said that while her client appreciates the board’s desire to beautify hamilton Street, “we feel (their project is) an improvement over existing conditions.

In the end, the board approved the application with the requested sign variances, but required that the bank adhere to all suggestions in the staff reports.


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