Sunbury’s Zoning Commission heard three unique cases involving J.P. Morgan Chase, Price Ponds and Taco Bell in a 2.5-hour session on Nov. 27.
J.P. Morgan Chase is proposing to close its current Sunbury locations and relocate at Sunbury Mills Plaza next to the Dairy Queen by the end of the third quarter in 2018. Chase representative Vaughan Benson said there would be a drive-up automated teller machine, but no separate teller lane. In addition, the interior would have more office space than prior iterations of its branches. The reason for these changes is that customers are doing more of their transactions online and require more advice than teller assistance at its offices.
Commission members asked whether a detention pond would cause any flooding to the parking lot, and if an additional teller lane could be added. “Several items need to be dealt with before formal approval,” said member Len Weatherby.
Price Ponds returned to the commission after receiving a lot of feedback during a public hearing, mostly concerning tree preservation. The proposed 184-acre subdivision by Golf Course Road would lose 60 condominiums and now consist of 336 single-family homes. A heavily-treed 18-acre area in the northeast corner would be preserved and owned by the village. Also proposed is an area for a new elementary school, to be financed by a New Community Authority.
Attorney Glen Dugger, representing Metro Development, said that Price Ponds would replace the trees cleared for the homes with three lot trees and two street trees for each house. He said it would be cost prohibitive to replace all the trees cleared.
Commission member Joseph St. John noted that 51 percent of the site wouldn’t be developed and appreciated the donation of the 18 acres to Sunbury. Both sides said they could work through the divergences and proposed to meet again December 18, and hold another public hearing before a recommendation could be made to the Village Council.
Taco Bell also returned to the commission with its proposal to build a new restaurant at Sunbury Mills Plaza. At a prior meeting, the commission was concerned that the front of the Taco Bell would be facing the Kroger anchor store, while the back of restaurant would be facing the road. The back is used as a cooler.
A team of representatives from Taco Bell proposed a painted brick wall for the back, with a set of rebus/emojis that reads, “Taco Bell Love’s Sunbury.” Commission members thought the treatment was “interesting,” but they wanted the back to look more like the front.
There was some heated discussion — among other things, the Taco Bell reps said that putting a faux front door and windows would present a safety issue, and that the restaurant couldn’t be flipped because its present orientation was the most efficient use of its drive-through window.
Zoning members said they did want Taco Bell in Sunbury, and proposed putting an awning and a tower sign similar to the front of their new-look restaurants on the back. The Taco Bell team said they would talk to corporate about the change and come back Dec. 18.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.