The original proposal by the developer of the Chase Bank proposed on Crawford called for taking over the alley, the currently empty lot and the residential property for a four lane drive through which would exit onto Crawford Road. The Planning and Development Commission denied rezoning the residential lot with the house on it. The second proposal was for rezoning the empty lot only, next to the alley, which was also denied by the P & D Committee, stating that "alleys are a natural buffer between a business and residential district".
So the third proposal - forwarded by Alderman Tendam without consulting the neighborhood, now has the developer purchasing the empty lot, donating it to the City, and then having the lessee of the property, in this case, Chase Bank, use almost half of the area as a parking lot for their private use during business hours, and public use during non business hours!
Related: Aldermen OK Bank Drive-Through On Gross Point
As a long term resident of the neighborhood - and speaking for the vast majority of neighbors (we had a petition signed by 157 people against the first proposal) we DO NOT NEED A PUBLIC PARKING LOT during non-business hours there. It can only act as a hang-out especially given the layout configuration.
We also feel that this is a dangerous precedent - where a private developer/business can purchase a residential property, donate it to the City, and then lease it back for their own use. Since the City is the owner, what legal responsibility does the City (speak us as residents have) for maintenance, upkeep, or in the event something happens on that lot which is now considered "open space". Why does use of a residential lot for parking not require rezoning and is considered "open space"?
I would like to express my appreciation to Alderman Judy Fiske who was the only one voting against the proposal to lift the drive-through prohibition on this lot which is at a location that already sees one of the highest numbers of traffic accidents (six point intersection of Crawford, Central and Gross Point). Furthermore, there is no sidewalk on the side of Crawford that has entry to the parking lot, but the neighborhood is filled with children going to the bus stop for schools, families, using Lovelace Park, and a traffic pattern during the evening rush hours, where Crawford northbound is often backed up beyond Glenview Road. So adding a business that adds more car traffic can hardly be considered beneficial to the neighborhood.
Since the latest in banking is "going to the bank without going to the bank" by using a cell phone, why Chase insists on having multiple drive-through lanes, is questionable - as is the fact that we have 6 bank branches within 1 mile and 38 branches within 2 miles of which 5 are Chase, and 4 Chase Private Client!