After doing some research, a Calvert County Department of Planning and Zoning official has determined that the new automatic teller machine (ATM) at the Bank of America branch in Prince Frederick is a building. That means the structure is subject to the scrutiny of the Prince Frederick Town Center Architectural Review Committee.  However, the department is recommending approval of the new ATM.

On Oct. 19, the ATM was discussed by the Calvert County Planning Commission, which deferred action pending a ruling from the department’s deputy director and zoning officer, Mary Beth Cook.

A building permit was issued for the $152,000 ATM, which has been completed but has not been activated. Nevertheless, the town center architectural review committee reviewed the project.

“They [the committee] denied the project,” planner Jenny Plummer-Welker told the planning commission, who explained the ATM’s colors do not match the colors of the main building.

In a memo sent to the planning commission, Calvert County Commissioners and county attorney, Cook cited the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance’s definition of a building. “A structure, not including a tent or trailer, having a roof and supported by permanent columns or walls on the ground, and used for shelter or enclosure of persons, animal or property of any kind,” the ordinance states. Cook stated the ATM meets the definition of both a building and a structure. The ATM has a roof and a door “which opens into an area where there are clearly multiple walls. In addition, the structure provides an enclosure for property, i.e. the machinery from which money gets disbursed.”

“The department recognizes that a building permit was issued in error, that error being in the processing of the application, not any substantive matter affecting the permitted nature of the use or compliance with any setback, area or substantive zoning regulation,” Cook stated in a memo to the planning commission. “Regardless of the processing error, the department recommends the approval of the ATM as constructed.”

Cook stated that County Attorney John Norris III stated there is precedent for revoking permits in error.

At the planning commission’s October meeting, Mark Davis, the attorney representing Bank of America, said bank officials were not willing to make changes to the structure, which he referred to as