Developers frequently seek permission to have fewer parking spaces than required for projects.
The opposite was the case in a variance request that came before the Northland Community Council's development committee July 23.
Lynsey Ondecker of GDP Group, representing Fifth Third Bank, appeared at the monthly session to request 27 parking spaces, not the permitted 17, to serve a new 3,085-square-foot branch at 5575 New Albany Road East.
"It was a peculiar problem compared to the cases we usually hear about," committee Chairman Dave Paul said.
The committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of the additional spaces, despite comments from a representative of the nearby Sugar Run Condo Association that the project would be potentially "injurious" to the residents.
The Fifth Third branch would be smaller than most, but would still have between 10 and 12 employees, Ondecker said during her presentation. If each employee is meeting with a customer, that would mean many more vehicles than 17 in the lot, she added.
"This is more of a hub ... for servicing loans," Ondecker said. "There will be a lot of appointments and so forth."
Even with the additional parking spaces, the new branch would meet the city's landscaping requirements, in part by cutting down the drive-through windows to two, with one drive-up ATM, Ondecker told committee members.
A detention pond will be established near the location to catch stormwater runoff from the bank as well as from a hardware store under construction in the same area, she said.
Martin Schuster of the condo association expressed concern about light pollution from headlights shining into the windows of residents and of noise pollution, "car doors slamming, loud vehicles" and garbage trucks arriving at 5 a.m.
Also, Schuster said residents of the 125 condominiums are worried about water running off the new bank's parking lot. He said construction of the hardware store had resulted in silt causing $500 in damage to a fountain at the Sugar Run Condos.
William Logan, vice chairman of the development committee, explained that those are zoning violations that can be addressed through complaints to city personnel. They don't really relate to the question of whether the additional parking spaces should be approved, he added.
"We definitely want to be a good neighbor," Ondecker said, noting that landscaping and a fence would screen the condos from headlights and that the developer has been in negotiations with the New Albany Co. regarding design standards.
"Your concerns are definitely important to us," Ondecker told Schuster.
He, however, was curious why committee members didn't want details on the type of fencing being proposed or the precise location of the detention pond.
Beyond noting in their recommendation to the Board of Zoning Adjustment the potential for problems raised by Schuster, Paul said there wasn't much committee members had to discuss regarding the request.
"They didn't see that there was any reason not to approve the variance," he said.