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Beacon Hill petition seeks to stop Capital One branch

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  January 13, 2012 10:05 AM

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Beacon Hill residents are trying to block what would be the neighborhood’s fifth bank in a three-block radius to protect a local market they consider part of the fabric of the community.

As of Friday morning, 122 people had signed an online petition aimed at stopping a new Capital One Bank retail branch from replacing the Charles Street Market at 62-66 Charles St.

The bank has proposed opening a branch on the corner of Charles and Mt. Vernon Streets, but a portion of the building lies in a residential zone. While Charles Street Market has a variance to operate there, the bank needs the city’s Zoning Board of Appeal to approve a variance for it.

Numerous residents spoke against the variance at the associations’s zoning and licensing committee last week because they did not want to a local and lively business to be replaced by a national bank chain.

The online petition, which is also posted at the Charles Street Market and Moxie, states in part: “The neighborhood need goods and services that residents can use and that bring foot traffic to Charles Street. The survival of locally owned-independent stores depends on a vibrant street, where people come to visit, shop, and eat every day of the week.”

The petition states the corner in question is at the heart of the neighborhood and should be home to local businesses, not a bank’s “trophy location,” as it called the the proposed branch.

“It is a lively space where every day kids wait for the school bus and shop owners, residents, contractors and tourists drop by for a bite, a drink, to read the paper or to collect their mail. Filling this space with a bank or office will deaden the area by reducing foot traffic and increasing safety issues,” the petition stated.

If Capital One does open at the proposed location, it would be the second bank to come to Charles Street recently. Hingham Institution for Savings opened its tenth location at 80 Charles St. in October.

Follow us on Twitter at @BeaconHillInfo or @JohannaKaiser.

Email Kaiser at johanna.yourtown@gmail.com.

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