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Compromise reached for re-zoning Burnet Road tract for bar

Monday, March 4, 2013 by Kimberly Reeves

Last week, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole brokered a final compromise on conditions around the re-zoning for a proposed Little Woodrow’s on Burnet Road, but the agreed-to concessions were not enough to bring Council Members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo on board.


This re-zoning of 5425 Burnet Road, from CS to CS-1(commercial with alcohol), has required three actual readings before Council. The final reading included a long list of concessions that Cole read into the record, including restrictions on hours of operations, stipulations about parking and a new vegetative buffer.


On a vote of 5-2, Council zoned the property CS-1 -MU-V-CO-NP, with Tovo and Morrison in opposition.


The property is the former site of the Nelson Puett Real Estate offices. Morrison, however, could not shake her belief that a bar district on Burnet Road was the last thing residents of the surrounding neighborhoods wanted to see.


“I’m still hearing from other neighbors along Clay Street and, frankly, my feeling is I can’t support this, even with the agreement,” Morrison said. “The neighbors were right. Things like this have blossomed into an entertainment and bar district. If we want to be able to maintain the quality of that area for families, this isn’t it. New people moving in aren’t going to be families.”


Cole read a lengthy list of additional conditions: the area of CS-1 has been reduced to 5,440 square feet; parking requirements are to be maintained but the parking spaces can now be within 200 feet of homes; traffic will exit one-way only off Clay Street; employees will park only along the western boundary of the property; and a vegetative buffer will screen residences on Clay Street.


Little Woodrow’s also has agreed to reduce hours. On the days of Sunday through Wednesday, it will close at midnight. On Thursday, the bar can be open until 1 a.m. And 2 a.m. will be closing time on Friday and Saturday.


The restrictions will be filed as a conditional use overlay when the specifics of the site plan are returned to Planning Commission. Tovo preferred the idea of a private or public restrictive covenant, which she considered to have more teeth.


“A bar that is open until 1 and 2 a.m. is going to have a tremendous impact on these neighbors,” Tovo said at the point of a vote. “That’s not the kind of family-friendly corridor we’re trying to create there.”


Brentwood neighbors, who did finally agree to the conditions, did consider liquor sales to be a problem along that portion of the Burnet corridor. Six properties in a short stretch on either side of the Little Woodrow’s are zoned for liquor sales. Four of those properties are dormant, and two are used.

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