The former Peet’s Coffee and Tea on Maple Avenue is officially going to be converted into a drive-thru bank.
The Town of Vienna Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved Burke & Herbert Bank’s request for a conditional use permit at the conclusion of a public hearing on March 17, allowing the Alexandria-based company to utilize and renovate the existing 2,575 square-foot building at 332 Maple Avenue East.
“I think Burke & Herbert moving from their present location up on the corner down into the middle of Maple Avenue gives them a much better facility,” Board of Zoning Appeals Chair George Creed said during last week’s meeting. “…I think that’ll be an excellent location for them.”
Burke & Herbert Executive Vice President of Marketing Terry Cole confirmed to Tysons Reporter that the bank’s existing Vienna branch will be closed, and operations will be relocated to the new site once the renovation is completed.
Constructed in the 1980s, the building at 332 Maple Avenue originally housed a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise until Caribou Coffee took over in 2012. The shop was rebranded in 2013 after the Peet’s Coffee owners bought Caribou.
Peet’s permanently closed the Vienna shop and another location in Tysons Station last summer after they shut down in the spring on what initially appeared to be a temporary basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burke & Herbert submitted a proposal to the Town of Vienna to convert the building into a drive-thru bank on Dec. 30, stating that the change in use would benefit the town by allowing the now-vacant facility to be refurbished and reducing traffic on Maple Avenue.
A traffic impact analysis conducted by a consultant hired by Burke & Herbert found that the proposed facility would generate an estimated 27 trips during morning peak hours and 57 trips during evening peak hours — 222 fewer morning peak-hour trips and 64 fewer evening peak-hour trips than Peet’s Coffee.
“I think the conditions will probably be significantly different than they were when this was a coffee restaurant,” said Walsh Colucci land-use attorney Robert Brandt, who represented Burke & Herbert at the public hearing. “Just the nature of the bank drive-thru use tends to get a little less of that drive-thru demand than a coffee restaurant, so the bank is very comfortable with the conditions on the site as proposed.”
Brandt says Burke & Herbert plans to make “significant improvements” to the interior and exterior of the building, but no expansions will be needed, and the existing drive-thru facility will largely be left intact, aside from moving a speaker from the back of the facility to the left side.
The bank has committed to making some accessibility improvements, including the addition of sloped sidewalks and restriping to create wheelchair-accessible parking spaces. The parking lot’s asphalt surface will also be repaved in places where it’s “in a little rough shape,” according to Brandt.
According to a report by Vienna’s planning and zoning staff, the proposed hours of operation for the new bank are between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The facility will be closed on Sundays. Four to five employees are expected to be on site at any given time during business hours.
The Vienna Planning Commission voted 9-0 on Feb. 10 to recommend that the board of zoning appeals approve the request for a conditional use permit, but the commission suggested restricting the permit to Burke & Herbert.
After consulting with Vienna’s town attorney, town staff told the zoning appeals board that the permit should not be tied to a specific property owner, but rather, a particular use — in this case, a financial or bank use.
If a food service establishment later moves back in, though, the property could revert back to the permits that were approved for KFC, which needed a conditional use permit for the drive-thru, and Caribou, which applied for one to allow outdoor dining.
Board Vice Chair Jonathan Pak suggested changing the rules that allow old permits to be resurrected as part of Vienna’s ongoing zoning code update.
“Many other zoning ordinances have sections on abandonment of a conditional use,” Pak said. “…I think that would be, frankly, what people expect, that if it goes away for 18 months or whatever, you’d have to come back and apply for a new conditional use permit.”
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