City Councilor Mike Ross (Beacon Hill, Back Bay) wants to make it tougher for banks to open along Beacon Hill's main shopping street.
The City Council tomorrow considers a request from Ross for a hearing on a measure that would require banks to go before the zoning board for permission to open new branches. Currently, any bank can just waltz right in, sign a lease and open up, which created a neighborhood brouhaha recently when a Charles Street landlord proposed kicking out a beloved convenience store for a Capital One branch. Under Ross's plan, banking would become a "conditional use" along the five blocks of Charles Street through the heart of Beacon Hill, which would require banks to explain themselves to the zoning board.
In his hearing request, Ross said Beacon Hill is "a vibrant neighborhood with a diverse business community consisting of non-franchised, locally owned businesses that meet the needs of residents" and that "the proliferation of many large banking institutions that would replace small retail stores threatens to erode the character of Charles Street."