By JACQUELINE DURETT
SAYREVILLE — Former Pizza Huts tend to still look like Pizza Huts even after they have been converted to other businesses.
However, the J.P. Morgan Chase bank that will be occupying the space where the closed Pizza Hut now sits at North Ernston and Washington roads in Sayreville will not have that problem.
The building there now, which closed in late 2015, will be torn down to make way for a Chase bank, according to the application for the new building that went before the Sayreville Planning Board on March 15.
The bank is a permitted use for the site, but Chase needed a handful of variances, most of which were related to the irregular, triangular shape of the property, which also has a stream running behind it. The proposed Chase, at 3,506 square feet, would be slightly smaller than the Pizza Hut. There would also be a 24-hour ATM and 26 parking spaces.
The board members had few questions for Chase representatives, but did question the lack of a drive-up teller. Engineer Matthew DeWitt said banks, including Chase, were getting away from installing drive-up teller rows.
Board Member Michael Macagnone also wanted to talk about the tree removal and replacement plan. Nineteen trees will be removed from the site, with 11 replacing them. Macagnone wanted to know why more replacement is not possible.
“I’m a tree guy,” he said.
DeWitt said the decision was in large part because of the already limited visibility of the bank from Washington Road.
Board Chairman Thomas Tighe, however, added that there are overgrown trees adjacent to the existing building.
“It’s kind of hard to knock down a building and leave the trees,” he said.
Macagnone, however, said the issue was not a dealbreaker for him.
“If it’s a new Chase bank versus a closed Pizza Hut, I’ll go with the bank,” he said.
Tighe also took issue with Chase’s plans to put a camera inside the ATM, but not outside it.
“You think that’s a prudent move?” he asked. “I’m just asking, it’s your business.”
Tighe added that other banks in the borough have outside cameras and have been helpful with law enforcement efforts.
Steve McGrane, project architect, said there may end up being a camera on the ATM canopy, but that decision was at the discretion of Chase security.
Chase will also need a riparian disturbance permit from the Department of Environmental Protection because of the stream in the back of the site.
There were no public comments on the application.
During the vote, Board Member Ken Kelly also recommended Chase look into additional security measures for the building.
The board unanimously approved the application.