So much for cautious optimism: About an hour ago, the City Plan Commission voted 6-5 not to grant Madison Partners that specific use permit that would have paved the way for the six-lane bowling alley Jonathon Hetzel, Barcadia's Brooke Humphries and other are hoping to open next to Good Records on Lowest Greenville. Hetzel's stunned ... and more than a little defeated.
"We got demonized pretty bad by the neighborhood and some of the commissioners," he says. "A lot of the opposition talked about how we were untrustworthy, money-grubbing landlords. And they seemed to buy into the argument -- that we're just liars. And the plan commission also has decided the way the [Planned Development District ordinance] is written, they can't grant any new business a SUP, only existing ones." (Which, says Angela Hunt, would be an extreme "misinterpretation of the ordinance, if that's what's happened here.")
Hetzel was the only one to speak for the project; the only one speak against it was Mike Northtup, representing a coalition of neighborhood associations. A certain Barking Dog, who opposes the bowling alley-bar, was also in attendance and reports back that the neighbors are quite happy with the CPC's decision -- because, among other things, "We want to bring in a good mix of retail, daytime and nighttime," and a new bar, they say, is just the same ol' same ol'.
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"All they're trying to do is shove more bars down our throats," says Avi Adelman. "Lower Greenville was meant for daytime retail, and it can come back in if somebody stops charging godawful rental rates."
According to people who attended the meeting this afternoon, the CPC told Hetzel to open up for a couple of years, see how it goes, then come back and apply for an SUP. And Hetzel says, sure, Madison Partners could open without a SUP, but it wouldn't be able to stay open till 2 a.m. -- which, he says, it needs to do in order to justify its investment in the project. Which means, he says, "We will not open without a SUP."
He says he'll more than likely appeal this to the city council, but that he's "mildly offended" by the plan commission and neighborhood association's contention that they're lying about the project and won't really put in those six bowling lanes. (Adelman says he's convinced they'll be nothing more than "decoration.")
I called Hunt for her thoughts on the subject. She said, "I'll be meeting with the parties, and I am hopeful we can resolve this."