Council weighing plans for bank


First Citizens National Bank’s plans to open its first branch in Delaware are moving along as the first reading of a final development plan was held during Monday’s meeting of Delaware City Council. If approved, the banking company has proposed a 2,170-square-foot addition to the existing building at 33 W. William St., which was formerly a bank.

The bank first announced its intentions of opening a Delaware branch in December 2020, with President and CEO Mark Johnson saying in a press release, “We have been serving customers in Delaware for a number of years from our Powell and Marion locations, but with banks in the Delaware market consolidating and selling to out-of-state owners who are drastically raising fees, we felt the time was right for a true community bank to step in to serve the community.”

Currently, a 500-square-foot building exists on the site with three lanes for drive-thru service. While awaiting the completion of the addition, the existing building will be upgraded to serve as a temporary full-service branch and open in March. First Citizens entered into a long-term lease arrangement with property owner, Hiram Lodge No. 18 F & AM, and expects the new addition to be completed by the end of 2021, pending final approval from council.

Prior to review by council, the proposal went before the City of Delaware Historic Preservation Commission for review of the architectural designs. The proposed addition will feature a limestone and red brick exterior to replicate the existing building, and the current gable roof will be replaced with a flat roof and white cornice.

Access to the bank will remain as it currently exists, with customers enter and exiting the site via Franklin Street. Those using the drive-thru lanes will exit onto William Street.

Along with the final development plan, a rezoning amendment has also been proposed to change the site from B-3 Community Business District to B-2 Central Business District. City documents for the request call B-3 zoning “more restrictive and generally less oriented toward the downtown environment.”

By rezoning the site to B-2, the city stated it will allow the building to mirror other buildings in the downtown area and “better allow the applicant to utilize the property in a fashion more consistent with the downtown environment than it has been in the past.”

To allow residents to weigh in on the proposal, a public hearing has been set as part of the second reading at the next council meeting. Scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22, residents can access the virtual meeting via the city’s Facebook page, and comments can be submitted to Council Clerk Elaine McCloskey at [email protected]. Those wishing to provide live comments during the meeting can also email McCloskey or call 740-203-1013.

Pictured is the vacant bank located on the western edge of downtown Delaware at 33 W. William St. is the vacant bank located on the western edge of downtown Delaware at 33 W. William St. Joshua Keeran | The Gazette

By Dillon Davis

[email protected]

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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