Chase Files Request for Variances

Chase Bank filed a request for multiple variances to be heard at the April 11th meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Chase would like to build a suburban-style bank on part of the old Hastings site.  The variance application and site plan can be found here:

BPCA – Hastings – Chase variance plan 3.15.12

BPCA – Hastings – Chase variance application 3.8.12

Other than the fact it shows a two story building, Chase’s current plan fails to meet the requirements and spirit of the Overlay.  In particular, the proposed building is placed 54′ back from the street/pedestrian zone to allow an access driveway to pass between the building and the Peachtree.  Chase claims that this access driveway serves Kauffman Tire and is a requirement of Kauffman’s lease.  However, the same entity, SDS Real Property Holdings Ltd., owns both the Hastings property and the Kauffman Tire site–and thus the property owner has “created its own hardship.”  It also should have the power to remove this “hardship.”

If this drive were removed and the building moved forward to front the pedestrian zone and street, it would have a much stronger presence on Peachtree and begin to create the friendly streetscape the Overlay envisions.

In addition to the front yard setback, Chase is asking for 21 more parking spaces than allowed under the Overlay (38 spaces vs. the 18 allowed).  As you can see on the plan, about 90% of the site would be pavement.  This seems unnecessarily large, especially given customers’ move to the convenience of on-line banking, and creates adverse environmental effects (heat island generation, storm run-off).

Without site plan changes, Chase’s plan would be a serious retreat from Overlay Zoning District principles, and thus BPCA is compelled to vigorously oppose the request for variances.

Comments

  1. Anne Irwin says:

    If Chase continues to push this plan it will have a negative effect on the neighbors they wish to service. I’m guessing that their customer base might also dwindle.
    i’m not in favor.
    thanks you for your persistance in working thu this zoning process
    Anne

  2. Paul Sherlag says:

    I live directly behind Hastings and would Gladly welcome Chase Bank, instead of a fast food establishment which has been proposed in the past. Bank hours wouldn’t interfere with our outdoor activities in our backyard and deck in the evenings or on weekends.Instead of smelling chicken biscuits cooking at all hours of the day,or drive in ordering, the bank would be more condusive to the neighbors most affected by new tenants at the old Hastings. It seems that those affected the most should have equal or more say than someone on the Overlay committee who doesn’t even live in Brookhaven!

  3. Jim Gallo says:

    Interparcel access across multiple businesses is an important and much sought after improvement over multiple drive entrances serving individual businesses. Seems that we are going to be taking a step a backwards in forcing the elimination of the access to Kauffman and the traffic light further to the south. I am all for the reduction in parking but I am willing to bet that the County ordinance is forcing the developer to provide that specific quantity of spaces.
    I have an idea…. let’s all vote yes on July 31 for the City. Then we can have representatives that live in our area and understand our concerns make the decision based on our vision.
    Jim

    • Courtney Dufries says:

      One of the best things about the Overlay Zoning District principles is that everybody in the Brookhaven area had ample opportunity to participate in this very good plan for our community. It’s Our Plan, devised and supported by our own communities. It’s hard to reach a consensus on these things, but we have done just that. The “Who Are We?” and “BPCA History” links offer more information about how we came together to develop these guidelines and principals for a better Brookhaven.

      We all have a vested interest in the Hastings property and other area developments. We all want it to be a financial success; to be considerate off its neighbors with appropriate noise, water runoff, and other buffers; to provide appropriate entrances for both pedestrians and vehicles; and to contribute to a better quality of life for everybody. Because I live a half mile away doesn’t lesson my concern for the same issues an adjacent property owner would have.

      Fortunately, the BPCA is in an alliance of our combined neighborhood associations, and this nonprofit is managed by people who live and work in Brookhaven. I may not agree with them 100% of the time, but they sure do a nice job representing our shared interests. You may not be happy with the plans for the Hastings property, however they come to fruition. But we should all be happy to have the BPCA.

      You may choose to vote for a new city charter if you wish. But it wasn’t necessary to have a separate city charter to develop and ensure compliance with our collective principles. After all, the Overlay Zoning District plan and principles were specifically and painstakingly developed by residents and businesses who live in our area. The plan and these principles are based on our consensus vision. Adding another government entity and paying for more politicians doesn’t mean they can ignore this collective vision. It shouldn’t, anyway.

  4. Joe DiCarlo says:

    This is a misuse of the variance process. The purpose of a variance is to grandfather an existing permitted use under, say, an old land-use plan, that does not conform to the new land-use plan. Variances were never intended to allow a new use that does not conform to an existing plan.

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