Plans to build a Chase Bank branch at Crawford Avenue and Gross Point Road moved one step closer to approval Monday night.

Evanston aldermen approved a zoning amendment to permit a drive-thru as a special use on the corner lot that’s now occupied by an abandoned gas station.

Although some neighbors continue to object to the much-revised bank plan, Alderman Mark Tendam, whose 6th Ward includes the site, said he’s convinced more ward residents support the proposal.

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, said the plan has been adjusted to address the neighbors’ concerns and that the branch bank would be “a much less noxious use” than the gas station.

The bank branch developer originally proposed including the gas station lot, a vacant lot across an alley from it and a third lot beyond that as part of the project.

The latest version would eliminate any use of the third lot. The now-vacant lot would be deeded by the developer to the city to be used roughly half for public parking that would be leased to the bank for daytime use and half as green space to create a buffer from neighboring homes.

Only Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, voted against the zoning change.

The bank proposal for the drive-thru special use still needs to clear several more hurdles, including review by the city’s Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning and Develpment Committee and the full City Council.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Chase Bank proposal for Crawford/Gross Point location

    The original proposal by the developer 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 residencial 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 Alerman 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!

    As a long term resident of the neighborhood – and speaking for the vast majority or neighbors  (we had a 157 petitions signed 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 Craword 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!

    Sigrid Pilgrim

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