Planning Board Hears Berkshire Bank Plans

The board then continued the public hearing until June 18.

Berkshire Bank wants to renovate and occupy a former Westborough Friendly's and Bob Evans on Route 9 "as soon as possible," project engineering consultant John Ineson told the planning board Tuesday night.

Bank officials seek three waivers and a special permit from the board to renovate the building at 303 Turnpike Road into a commercial and mortgage office.

Phase two of the bank's plans would be an addition, for banking services, with a drive through, project engineering consultant John Furman said. This work also would require planning board approval. Ineson said the addition would be about 2,800 square feet.

Tuesday night, the board opened its public hearing on the phase one requests, and continued it to 7:40 p.m. June 18 at the Forbes Municipal Building.

Town Planner Jim Robbins will draft a decision for that meeting, when the board will "hopefully issue a decision," Chairman Lester Hensley said.

Board member Brian Bush said he was pleased that the former restaurant would be re-used.

"I think it's a good use," Bush said.

The bank would be Berkshire Bank's first Worcester County branch.

Berkshire Bank's nearest branch and ATM is in Chelmsford, according to the bank's website.

However, Berkshire Bank already is in Westborough: a commercial lending office at 45 Lyman St.

Bank officials anticipate renovating the building starting in mid-June, Assistant Vice President of Marketing Ray Smith said Friday.

The commercial and mortgage offices would open in September, he said. The retail branch would open in early December.The Westborough branch would have "teller pods," which are "state of the art technology" allowing for "more personalized service" and security, Smith said.

Customers would receive money brought out from the vault, rather than a teller, he said.

"A lot of the robbers today, they don't want to go to the vault. They want to go right to the teller," Smith said.

"The teller has no money."

The Westborough branch also would have a community room that's open to the public, with a separate entrance and exit, Smith said.

The room would have a big-screen TV, and Wifi, he said.


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