Geneva council favors bank on historic Pure Oil site

Bank customers may be pulling through the bays of the former Pure Oil service station by next spring.

The Geneva City Council is poised to approve a special-use permit to allow the building's owner and his client, St. Charles Bank and Trust. to put drive-up lanes in the historic station at 502 W. State St. The council, meeting as a committee of the whole Monday, voted 9-0 to forward the plan for a binding council vote next week.

The Geneva Plan Commission had recommended approving the special use, and a zoning-law change to allow fewer “reservoir” spaces in the drive-up lanes than normally required.

“I'm not too crazy about a bank going there, but I do value what you have done with the building and how you intend to save the building,” Alderman Dorothy Flanagan said to the building owner, Joe Stanton.

The brick service station opened in 1937; it's blue tile roof, standard on Pure Oil stations, is eye-catching. The building is in Geneva's historic district, and is rated “significant.” It has housed a gardening-supply store for several years.

Stanton owns it; the building to the south at 12 S. Fifth St.; and the building to the west at 514 W. State. The bank intends to move in to the first floor of the 514 building, and knock down 12 S. Fifth St. for parking.

Earlier this year, Stanton and St. Charles Bank were denied permission to demolish the Pure Oil building.

Turning it into a drive-up will entail opening the service-bay entrances on the back side of the building. The roll-up doors on the front of the building, which faces State, will be left in the “up” position. But the doors may be lowered slightly, to expose one or two panels, to keep some of the service-station look to the building. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency suggested that, the project's architect said.

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