A majority on the Planning Commission went into last night's meeting convinced they wouldn't support the installation of an ATM on the historic Kolln Hardware building at Main and Division streets downtown. It's Old West elegance, complete with the distinguishing cupola that is almost as recognizable as the neon Pleasanton sign, has been restored for the past four years by owner Bud Cornett. Comerica Bank, an incoming tenant that will occupy the first floor, plans to construct an automatic teller machine on the Division Street side of the building.
The proposal wasn't received positively by many on the commission, who like some on the Pleasanton Weekly's online Town Square forum, have lamented the fact that another bank is moving to a prime location downtown, not a retail store which would attract more foot traffic. Since the installation of the ATM was deemed a minor project by the city planning department, it was approved without going before the planning commission. That didn't sit well.
Commissioner Anne Fox appealed the city's approval, which led to the hearing Wednesday.
But in the end, Fox was convinced after hearing from Comerica officials that they were doing their best to make the cash machine look historic and blend in with its surrounding. The commission voted unanimously to turn down the appeal and let the project move forward.
A representative from the bank said they understand how important the Kolln Hardware building is to the city and its residents.
"Comerica began in 1849, so it's older than Pleasanton is," he said.
"Comerica isn't in trouble, doesn't need government assistance and didn't give out subprime mortgages," he added in reference to the recent troubles in the financial industry. "A bank without an ATM today is not competitive.
The representative added that Comerica expects to be in downtown Pleasanton for a long time, but should it ever leave, it would return the building back to its original form by removing the ATM and restoring the siding. The machine will be made of an antique-finished bronze along with a night deposit box and a light. A small side window, which isn't an original window to the building, will be removed to make room for both.
In her decision to support the ATM, commissioner Jennifer Pearce said: "While I do think there should be a discussion of banks being permitted uses (downtown), it's not time for that discussion tonight.
Commissioners also had some reservations about the location of the ATM on the one-way Division, which could possibly being converted to a two-way road. Commissioner Greg O'Connor said he was concerned about the ATM being so close to the sidewalk and those using the machine not feeling safe.
The Kolln Hardware building, located at 600 Main St., was purchased by Cornett in 2004. It was repaired and restored and was completed just a few weeks ago. Part of the work included an addition, adding 3,896 square feet. Since the addition required the removal of four parking spaces, Cornett agreed to paying in-lieu parking fees that will be used by the city to construct public parking lots downtown.