NORTH SMITHFIELD – It won’t be the full-service banking customers in North Smithfield once enjoyed, but Bank of America is planning a limited return to Slatersville Plaza.
The bank received approval from the Zoning Board this month to install a stand-alone drive-up ATM in the northeast corner of the parking lot of the plaza at 900 Victory Highway. Bank of America’s former space, a 3,200-square-foot leased area that served the town for years, will remain vacant, for now, until a new tenant is secured.
“They’re closing a lot of locations throughout New England because things are going digital,” Brian Flannery, representing the bank, told the board at a meeting on Tuesday, August 22. “We want to open up an ATM out in the front corner of the property.”
The bank has already worked out an agreement with plaza owners Crosspoint Associates of Massachusetts to utilize the space for a pre-fabricated ATM island and accompanying lighting.
“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with them,” Flanery said of Crosspoint.
Andrew Rainone for Bank of America noted that the project will include installation of four new poles with dark sky lighting for safety.
“The bank is very strict about having a safe site,” Flanery said.
Zoning Board Chairman Robert Najarian noted that planning board review of the project was waived following consultation with the town building inspector. The project did require a special use permit according to town ordinances for the business neighborhood zone.
Najarian asked what will happen with the bank’s prior space, which was one of several across New England to close amid cuts last year.
“We don’t own it. We were tenants there,” Flanery said. “So we can’t demolish anything on the property.”
Zoner Gail Berlinghof advised the representatives to protect the white bike at the front of the property, a memorial to the late Scott Wright, who died following an accident at the intersection. Rainone said construction should not affect the area or other landscaping at the plaza.
Najarian went through other zoning requirements at the relatively quick hearing.
“We know it is a well-established commercial facility with multiple means of egress,” he said. “For those of us who are BoA members, it’s a convenience that we enjoyed for many-a-year, and clearly it was serving a purpose.”
“We know that the majority of that area is commercial in nature,” Najarian said. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s compatible with the adjacent properties.”
The request for the special use permit was unanimously approved.