It just came to my attention that the Mill Valley Gas Station will soon be replaced by a Chase Branch Bank Building. There is a City Council Meeting on the 9th...this MONDAY!

If the community truly knew what the framing on that site was all about I am certain there would be more push back.

The last thing we need is another bank in our town.

The bank in NO WAY serves the majority of the community. The mill valley gas station is affordable and convenient...not to mention there are already tanks in the ground....turning this lot into a bank that serves a small portion of the population is a serious disservice.

If you can make it please come to the city council meeting and oppose this project!!!
Cranky 29er December 08, 2013 at 12:24 PM
So...if memory serves me correctly (and please let me know if I am mistaken), the owners of this station tried to expand the mini-mart to allow them to actually make a little more money. That plan was rejected by the powers that be here in MV and many spoke out against it. Now..folks don't want a bank. MV can't have it both ways. Folks need to be allowed to run their business the way they like and if leasing or selling to a bank is more profitable then so be it. The City of MV spoke once on the issue. I love that gas station and it pisses me off that it is going to be a bank, but what pisses me off more is the short-sided perspective of many MV-ites.
Geoff Flint December 09, 2013 at 12:10 AM
It is a shame to lose a gas station in Mill Valley, especially one with reasonable prices. I guess that the lines at Arco will be even longer now. We don't need yet another bank.
kbf December 09, 2013 at 02:14 AM
To: Planning Commission and Staff From: Kevin Ferrell Date: December 12, 2013 Subject: Proposed Chase Bank Branch at 630 East Blithedale Subsequent to my submission of a week ago re the subject, the Planning Department published the agenda for the December 9th Planning Commission meeting incorporating the applicant's latest revisions to the proposed project. I did not have these revisions available when I earlier submitted my comments. On review of the revisions, I have several additional observations/requests/recommendations. 1. In clear disregard for the Commission's explicit direction to the applicant to minimize the visual and other impacts of the project, incredibly the latest revision includes a further increase in the size of the structure. The proposal began at 3,475 sq. ft, grew to 3,942 sq. ft., and is now proposed at 4,113 sq. ft. This maximizes the structure's impact both visually, and in terms of traffic volume, and resource use. There is no reason whatever for this commercially. It's building for the sake of building, using resources for the sake of using resources. There are already over twenty branches in Mill Valley, and with exception of a few very old branches, none are more than 2,000-2,500 sq. ft. The downtown BofA and Wells branches are relics from the 50's and 60's which would never be built today. If you go into the downtown BofA branch you will see that it is 60% unoccupied, empty. It's like a mausoleum. Chase itself has any number of branches around the Bay Area which are approximately 2,000 sq. ft. in size. There is just no good reason for there to be the equivalent of two branches to be built on the site. Chase can do very well with a structure of not more than 2,500 sq. ft., particularly given its minimal market share in the area. Certainly, the interests and priorities of the citizens of Mill Valley are diminished by anything larger. 2. The proposed structure is single story as it should be. However, a peak roof line of 19 ft is proposed. Again, this maximizes impact and is just unnecessary, particularly for a smaller scale structure. With 10 ft ceilings, the roof line need not exceed 15 ft, and cathedral ceilings are always an option. The roof area and a pitch from 15 ft down to 10 ft would fully accommodate the installation of solar panels sufficient to power the structure. We have solar panels on the roof of our residence which meet more than 100% of our electricity requirements. They are positioned on 60% of the south facing portion of our roof which itself constitutes 40% of our total roof area. In other words, our solar panels cover only about 25% of our total roof area.
kbf December 09, 2013 at 02:17 AM
3. It is stated that the applicant proposes moving the structure 10 ft further from the corner. I presume that story poles are meant to indicate the size, scale, height, mass and location of a proposed structure. If so, it would seem that the location of the current story poles which completely surround and rise over the existing structure are inconsistent with the 10 ft movement. Whether consistent or not, again to reduce impact and without any commercial harm, the structure needs to be located as far as possible toward the southeast corner of the site, consistent with any setback regulations and necessary traffic flow. 4. With a structure much reduced in scale, the number of parking places can and should be reduced, say to perhaps fifteen. This would also have the advantage or permitting more area devoted to screening trees, shrubs, and other vegetation. 5. Many of Mill Valley's citizens who take an interest in the living conditions afforded by the town have long decried the incestuous relationship between the Parisi firm and the City to be unhealthy and detrimental to the interests of the residents. As in this case, nearly every time the Parisi firm is called in to evaluate traffic impact, the result is "no big deal," trip times/delays will only increase a tenth of a second or so. For the past 20 years, on a near daily basis I drive on East Blithedale, employing the Mesa intersection and passing through the Camino Alto intersection. During any period over the past 20 years, whether it be 2, 5, 10, or 20 years, traffic volume and congestion has steadily risen. Now, it is not uncommon for the trip from the Mesa/East Blithedale intersection to 101 to take a full 30 minutes, half an hour, during the 5:00PM to 6:00 PM window. It never used to be more than 5-10 minutes. That's a lot of tenths of a second! The Camino Alto/East Blithedale intersection is currently rated a D, and I wouldn't be surprised that if it's rating were updated, the rating would decline to E. The intersection is near a "tipping point," which when it is reached will suddenly result in trip times increasing in minutes, not tenths of a second. Consequently, the Commission's decisions regarding this site are particularly important. Once, the tipping point is passed, there will be no turning back. I recommend that the Commission direct that an independent, objective, non-conflicted traffic consultant be retained to ensure that it can be doubly sure about the traffic impacts on Mill Valley of this project.
kbf December 09, 2013 at 02:18 AM
If you think about it, about the last thing Mill Valley needs on that site is a bank branch. Mill Valley already has twenty-three branches, representing at least nine different banks. Mill Valley is what bankers call "over-banked." Other financial services institutions like brokerage offices, mortgage bankers, etc add many more outlets to the number. An additional branch provides almost zero utility to Mill Valley residents. If you were to poll Mill Valley residents on what they'd like to see on the site, a bank branch would fall well down the list, if it even made the list. Certainly, the gas station there now is of much greater utility. I see the duty and obligation of the Planning Commission to be to put the priorities and interests, the living conditions of Mill Valley first. The City should be on the offense, deciding what we want where, determining our Town and what's in it, not just reacting to whatever is proposed. With respect to this proposal, I accept that a bank branch will most likely be built and operated. But we should accept it only on our terms, putting the residents of Mill Valley first. Therefore, I request the Commission to direct the applicant to go back to the drawing board, and come back with a proposed structure of not more than 2,500 sq. ft., a peak roof line of no higher than 15 ft., located as far as possible to the southeast corner of the lot, and conforming with your direction with respect to design, materials, and minimum impact in terms of signage, lighting, and traffic. And going forward, I would ask the Commission to consider the concept of going on the "offense" much more in shaping what's in Mill Valley, particularly on important sites such as the East Blithedale/Camino Alto intersection. Thank you again for your time and attention.
Jack December 09, 2013 at 01:44 PM
What's the address of this site? I'm relatively new to MV and am not sure exactly which station you're referring to? The Chevron on Miller? The little mini mrkt at corner of Camino Alto and E Blithedale?
Geoff Flint December 09, 2013 at 01:54 PM
The gas station that is slated to be torn down is the one at the corner of East Blithedale and Camino Alto.
Jack December 09, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Planning Commission Meeting Agenda http://www.cityofmillvalley.org/index.aspx?recordid=9164&page=35
Clayton Smith December 09, 2013 at 03:12 PM
If we think about Chase's motivations to put a branch bank at that location, I can think of three. First, it provides a billboard to promote Chase as a brand. Almost everyone in Mill Valley will be reminded of Chase on a daily basis. This is very valuable in such an affluent community. It can follow up on this brand building with mailers, and it builds on what we see on TV and in our magazines. Second, it is a convenient location for an automatic teller, or a drive through window (if such things still exist). Third, given Chase's access to endless amounts of cheap money from their favorable position with the Federal Reserve Bank, they have a huge surplus of unused capital on their balance sheets. What better way to "invest" some of these funds than to buy some prime land in Mill Valley, use it for a period of time to help promote their brand, then after they have run out the depreciation on the project, turn around and use the recently enacted SB375,SB473, SB1, etc., to compel the development of an apartment building on the site by one of their partners or a subsidiary? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Meanwhile, another community serving business bites the dust. I will concede, however, that the Chase branch will most likely have a more gentrified look to it and better fit in with the opulent community center next door. However, I think that a remade mini market would have gone a long way in that direction itself. It is important to note that this development makes a value judgment as to what the City's priorities are. Finally, due to my commitment to fight the National Park Service's plan to build a 180 car park and shuttle facility on the Dias Ridge at a meeting in Tam Valley tonight, I personally cannot attend the meeting at which this is to be formally discussed. But I do hope that as many people who have reservations concerning this major change in land use will take the time to show up and practice democracy. The more people do so the stronger our communities will become. Public participation in community altering development is a value in itself.
Magoo December 10, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Maybe the hat-wearing bandit was there supporting the bank.
Dolly Lanna December 13, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Dolly Lanna December 13, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Why not another cat spa?


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