The City Council voted Sept. 26 to approve a special land use permit request for 22 parking spaces for the relocation of a SunTrust bank branch office to the site of the vacant Old Hickory House at 5490 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody Village.
SunTrust is closing its branch at 1710 Mount Vernon Road, also in Dunwoody Village, to open in the new location.
Plans are to tear down the Old Hickory House and construct a new 3,543 square-foot bank to include bicycle parking and landscaping on the 0.74 acre lot.
The Dunwoody Village Master Plan and overlay district would only have allowed 11 parking spaces at the new SunTrust bank, which is not enough for employees and customers, explained Community Development Director Steve Foote.
“The Dunwoody Village Overlay allows a maximum of three parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of floor area for all non-residential uses on all properties in the overlay area. That equates to a maximum of 11 parking spaces for the new building. The applicant states that 11 spaces will be insufficient,” Foote explained in a memo to council.
SunTrust’s current location on a 0.6 acre lot has 24 parking spots, Foote said.
“Without a public parking garage [in Dunwoody Village] it is hard to restrict parking in a commercial area,” Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said. “As we move forward and envision [this area] we have to understand we can’t have retail and restaurants and service-based businesses and not offer a place to park.”
Councilmember Jim Riticher said he was also not happy with the parking restrictions in place.
“I find the restrictions in the overlay to be very problematic,” he said. “We need to address this short of a full rewrite. I don’t know how we can get a restaurant without addressing this issue.”