Local lawyer loses plea to withdraw ATM from Main St.
Recorder/File Photo Florence Savings Bank ATM at Main Street and Bank Row. Purchase photo reprints »
GREENFIELD — Despite a local lawyer’s objections, an ATM recently installed on Main Street passed an administrative site plan review Thursday.
The Planning Board and the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority both voted that the free-standing ATM installed by Florence Savings Bank is not in violation of the site plan approved in 2009.
Since it was erected this spring, the ATM has been a source of ire for attorney John Stobierski.
Stobierski objected to the ATM, stating that it was a commercial enterprise on town-owned property.
Town regulations state that property owners own the first four feet of the sidewalk from their exterior walls.
Stobierski said that claim to ownership is null and void if, for a consecutive 20-year period, that 4 feet of sidewalk was unused by the property owner. Under those circumstances, he said, ownership would revert to the town.
The lawyer called into question surveys performed under direction of developer Jordi Herold, who owns the building at Main Street and Bank Row and leases the space under the ATM to Florence Savings Bank.
“If attorney Stobierski really felt confident, he would’ve come to the town with his own ALTA survey, and brought a lawsuit (against Herold),” said Thomas Lesser, Herold’s lawyer.
The ATM is not attached to the building, said Lesser, and therefore does not constitute a change to the structure. Changes to the structure could have violated the site plan under which the Planning Board allowed Herold to renovate the building.
Planning Board Chairwoman Roxanne Wedegartner confirmed that assertion, and said that, since it’s not a change to the building, the ATM is under the purview of the building inspector, and not the Planning Board.
The only violation to be addressed is the canopy that covers the ATM. According to Building Inspector Mark Snow, the canopy will need to be raised 1 foot from its current height to comply with regulations.
Though the canopy juts out 10 inches over the public sidewalk, Board of License Commissioners member Scott Conti said awnings and canopies are allowed to overhang a public way by 12 inches or less.
Snow said Thursday that Herold has filed for permits to raise the canopy and bring it into compliance.
Though Stobierski objected to signs on the building advertising the ATM’s presence, Herold said they were placed over existing signs that were in compliance with Greenfield regulations. Herold said he is willing to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals to confirm that.
Besides disputing Herold’s ownership of that 4 feet of sidewalk, Stobierski objected to the appearance of the ATM.
“It was a nice, sedate, commercial corner, now with a loud, bright blue structure that doesn’t fit in,” he said.
Though others also object to the ATM’s appearance, including Greenfield Redevelopment Authority member Timothy Farrell, he said it’s not in violation of the building’s permits.
“I really don’t want to see things (that look) like that all the way down Main Street,” he said. He said the town should look into an ordinance regulating what can and can’t be installed on downtown sidewalks, though he admitted that he voted against a similar ordinance in the past.
Farrell also admitted that he is a member of the board of directors of Greenfield Savings Bank, as is Stobierski’s wife. Farrell said he and the bank’s board do not object to the ATM, which is located directly across the street from Greenfield Savings Bank.
“Competition is a good thing,” he said.
Farrell also said that, given his knowledge of banking, he believes the ATM serves less as a profit-making venture for the bank than an advertisement. Florence Savings Bank plans to open a branch on Federal Street in the near future.
Other members of the Redevelopment Authority, as well as the Planning Board, said they welcome the new bank branch.
Redevelopment Authority member Wendy Marsden said the ATM is in line with the GRA’s mission of revitalizing the downtown area, because it allows people to withdraw money to spend in town.
David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279