2010-09-23 / Front Page

BankNewport approved for makeover — with conditions

By Sam Bari

After a detailed presentation by architect Don Lonergan, assisted by BankNewport Administrative Services Officer Chet Mosher, the Jamestown Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve BankNewport’s development plan.

However, the plan for extensive renovations inside and out was not without conditions. The commission tacked on a list of 10 conditions during its Sept. 15 meeting, which the bank agreed to follow before a motion was made to approve the project.

Commission Chair Michael Swistak recused himself from hearing the application because his brother, Mark Swistak, lives on Lincoln Street on an abutting property to the south side of the bank. Vice Chair Duncan Pendlebury presided over the proceedings.

The proposal for the BankNewport branch located at 31 Conanicus Ave. includes plans to move the drive-up banking window to the rear of the existing building and expand it to two lanes. An architect’s rendering of the plan can be seen on page six.

The area where the present drive-up banking lane exists will be used to build an addition to the existing building to accommodate new office space.

The existing ATM will be incorporated into the new entry vestibule area, which will be expanded by 53 square feet. A new A/C condenser pad will also be installed on the exterior of the building within a fenced enclosure.

A new handicap ramp with railing will be installed in the front of the building, and two new parking spaces will be added to accommodate the increase in interior square footage.

The entire building will have a new roof to match the new addition areas. New lighting and landscaping is included in the plan, as well as a new bike rack that will be installed on the south side of the building.

The interior will be completely renovated to accommodate the new office space. The fireplace will be removed and the teller services area will be expanded.

Vice chairman Pendlebury questioned the design of the exterior lighting fixtures. He suggested that only dark sky fixtures be installed, so that light is directed down to the area requiring light and the skyward glow is reduced. His suggestion was one of the conditions that the bank agreed to accept.

Other conditions included consulting with neighbors concerning the height of shrubbery being installed in buffering zones, as well as limitations to the height of lighting fixtures.

A neighbor living at 7 Union St. questioned the location of the night deposit box and the lighting confi guration that would be used. The architect assured the neighbor that his concerns would be taken into consideration and the request was included in the list of conditions.

Although the Technical Review Committee approved the plans, the conditions suggested that the committee be asked to review the lighting fixtures and landscaping plans that are now being revised.

After voting to approve the BankNewport application, the commission used the remaining time to review the updates in the Comprehensive Community Plan.

Town Planner Lisa Bryer com- pleted a line-by-line review of revisions she had made to the historic and cultural resources elements of the plan.

The sections included lengthy discussions about wording that would guarantee preservation of structures of historic worth, as determined by surveys taken of town residents.

Commissioners Michael Smith and Rosemary Enright had differences of opinion concerning the definition of historic worth.

Bryer stated in her document, “Although public support has grown by almost 6%, totaling 41% in favor, those opposed to creating historic districts has also grown by 7%, bringing the total to 34%. Of the 41% in favor of creating historic districts, an overwhelming 88% would like to see Jamestown Village designated as a historic district. Shoreby Hill received a close second vote at 84%.”

Jamestown has 13 districts and sites listed on the National Register, and 16 state-identified districts and sites that deserve consideration and further study for entry in the National Register.

The review of the Comprehensive Community Plan is an ongoing project as the plan develops. Bryer listened to the input of the commissioners and said that she will adjust the wording accordingly.

Upon completion, the Plan will be made available through hearings to Jamestown residents before it is finalized and approved.

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