Both sides drive hard bargain on drive-thru
The Glenwood Springs City Council added conditions Thursday to a special use permit for a drive-thru bank in response to three neighbors, who had appealed aspects of the project.
But the council’s hearing on granting WestStar Bank a major development permit was continued until Aug. 15.
At issue in the special use permit was how many concessions WestStar Bank officials would need to make for the benefit of nearby neighbors. The bank plans to build a drive-thru bank and office building at 1901 Grand Ave.
The bank already has agreed to nine conditions, including a gate or chain to close the drive-thru lane at the “throat” of the drive-thru, turning off all lights by 10 p.m., and the construction of an eight-foot masonry wall. There was some disagreement, however, about exactly what or where the throat of the drive-thru is.
Each of the three appeals were filed by Park Drive residents who feel the drive-thru will negatively affect them. Some of the appellants’ concerns about the drive-thru included the annoyances of loud vehicle engine and stereo noise, noxious fumes from tailpipes and the loss of privacy.
“We are not opposed to a bank on this property,” appellant Terry Burke said. Rather, he said the neighbors want additional screening and noise controls.
WestStar Bank chairman E. B. Chester replied to the appeals by insisting the bank had done everything it could to comply with neighbors’ requests.
While talking about numerous changes made to the bank plan, Chester said the neighbors “brought up the perception that we reneged on this and reneged on that.
“We haven’t done that, we’re just trying to build something everyone can agree on so we can go home,” he added, noting that bank officials think fear of the drive-thru is “completely overblown.”
The neighbors also expressed concern about a two-way access through the bank parking lot. The approved Planning and Zoning Commission conditions call for a one-way drive-thru. But according to one of the earlier maps, the building included two-way access to its drive-thru and parking lot.
In subsequent drawings, however, it has apparently become unclear whether the bank’s parking lot access wound up with two-way or one-way access, a point that is still unresolved.
Chester then said, in no uncertain terms, that if two-way access is not allowed into the bank parking lot, he will scrap the project. He went on to warn that if the current plan is scrapped, he might build a larger building closer to neighbors’ homes.
During the appeals portion of the meeting, neighbors were granted five trees with six-inch-diameter trunks.
City Council also recommended that an eight-foot-tall privacy wall be set along the bank’s north property line, instead of setting it back five feet under normal setback requirements. The change will require a variance from the Board of Adjustment and Appeals.
By the time the discussion was at its end, it was past midnight. Exasperation was evident the faces of not only the two opposing sides, but also members of City Council.
So both sides plan to attend the next meeting, on Aug. 15, to try and hash out a compromise agreeable to everyone.
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