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Planning Commission says no to extra parking for bar

Monday, November 14, 2022 by Jonathan Lee

The Planning Commission on Tuesday prevented a bar on Manor Road from building extra parking, as members expressed concern over encouraging drinking and driving.

“I certainly think that more people driving to bars is not a good idea,” Commissioner Jeffrey Thompson said. 

The bar, called the Alright, is currently under construction at 2301 Manor Road. The owners hoped to build extra surface parking on an adjacent lot at 2205½ Chestnut Ave, where cars already park for nearby businesses.

“Our goal is to not impact the neighborhood with on-street parking near people’s homes,” Thomas Duvall, the engineer of the parking lot, said. “We want to keep it where people are already parking but clean it up and make it more usable.” The parking lot would have been shared between the Alright and the Vortex, another bar next door.

City staffers recommended approving the extra parking, and some commissioners supported the request.

“I think for the time being, the investment to do this will help the neighborhood as well as the businesses there,” Commissioner James Shieh said. “And sometime later it can be replaced with housing and some business.”

Other commissioners said the additional parking wasn’t necessary for a bar where people will be drinking, especially since the area already has decent multimodal transportation options. 

“I can’t get behind trying to pass and approve more surface parking in an area that is so dynamic and bikeable and walkable and activated,” Commissioner Greg Anderson said, adding that he doesn’t want more people to drink and drive.

Commissioner Awais Azhar said allowing a surface parking lot along a major transit corridor also conflicts with the city’s transit goals. 

A motion to approve the parking failed 4-6-1 with Shieh and commissioners Jennifer Mushtaler, Patrick Howard and Grayson Cox in favor and Carmen Llanes Pulido abstaining. The Planning Commission had the final say.

Photo caption: The Alright, a bar that will occupy the building on the left, hoped to turn the adjacent dirt lot into surface parking. Photo by Google Maps.

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