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ZAP OKs zoning change for northside bar

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by Elizabeth Pagano

Those spoiling for a fight were left unfulfilled Tuesday night, when the Zoning and Platting Commission calmly recommended zoning for a northwest bar and restaurant, despite existing code violations.

The owners of Pour House Pints and Pies at 11835 Jollyville Road were seeking a change from their current zoning, which is a mix of Limited Office (LO) and Community Commercial (GR), to zoning that was entirely Community Commercial.

The Raintree Estates Neighborhood Alliance, which is adjacent to the Pour House, supported the zoning change. Its president, Mike Doyle, wrote a letter of support that said his organization was “happy to help our neighbors.”

In the end, Zoning and Platting Commissioners voted to approve General Office zoning on Tract I of the property and Community Commercial zoning on Tract II. That fixes a problem on the lot where a thin strip of SF-3 zoning and an expansion of the building in 1983 created code violations.

The Jollyville Pour House opened about one year ago.

Though attorney Jeff Howard of McLean & Howard LLP offered to attach those restrictions on the more-intense Community Commercial, commissioners were wary. Commissioner Patricia Seeger pointed out that when they considered zoning, commissioners did not necessarily consider conditional overlays. Instead, they consult a zoning map to see what surrounding uses might be, and whether the proposed zoning is similar. She reasoned that even with an extensive conditional overlay, zoning the property to GR could set an unwanted precedent.

Commissioner Jason Meeker spoke in favor of the Pour House. He explained that he knew the area well, and was impressed with their “overt” effort to fit into the neighborhood. He contrasted their efforts with P. Terry’s Burger Stand up the road, whose bright neon signs and drive-through sparked a fight with the neighborhood. He urged his fellow commissioners to be as creative as they could to find a solution for the Pour House.

“I know I’m pushing it by saying we want to help this particular business, but I’m saying these guys are doing it right … right next to the neighborhood,” said Meeker. “This particular business can be encouraged.”

Chair Betty Baker reminded Meeker that it was not about the businesses, but the zoning that sticks with the land even if the business closes.

“I’ve seen too many cases where we’ve gone to bat for people … and it changes hands,” said Baker.

Baker also chastised Howard for not offering a list of restrictions for the upzoning as part of his case. She explained that it was not the commission’s job to design his case. After some back and forth, however, commissioners did develop a list of restrictions for the property.

Both of the zoning changes came with conditional overlays that limit height to 40 feet and 2000 vehicle trips per day. The conditional overlay for the Community Commercial zoning additionally prohibits automobile-related uses, exterminators, bail bond services, pawnshops and service stations.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the change, with Commissioner Sean Compton voting in opposition. Commissioners Cynthia Banks and Rahm McDaniel were absent.

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