City Hall

Shade Learns You Don't Want to Make Hunt Angry As Its Late-Night Permit Gets Tossed

Many of those Lower Greenville specific use permits approved by the City Plan Commission came before the city council today, which is why Bruce Richardson, repping a coalition of neighborhood associations, was perched at the podium for the better part of the last hour, saying nice things about some applicants and not-so-nice things about others and sparking a lengthy discussion about parking along and around Lower Greenville. Which we'll return to at some point. But not now.

If the parking situation's a bit muddled, let's say, one thing is very clear: Even some well-liked applicants with good track records -- like, say, Greenville Avenue Pizza Company, which CPC said should get a five-year permit renewal -- aren't going to have an easy time before the council. Because the pizzeria's five-year permit just got knocked down to two years, per Pauline Medrano's proposal following a lengthy discussion over lengths of leases, the number of parking spaces and the whole point of her and Hunt's ordinance concerning the Lower Greenville Planned Development district.

And then there's the case of Shade, at 2214 Greenville Avenue.

A few weeks ago, City Plan Commission approved extending its late-hours permit without any questions whatsoever; city staff had also recommended OK'ing a one-year extension for Shade. Problem is: Shade's permit is currently for a "a late-hours establishment limited to a restaurant without drive-in or drive-through service." And Shade ain't a restaurant. No how, no way. Why is why Hunt went against the CPC and staff's recommendation. Hard.

Shade is "a dance club, a bar ...  and to me, the best way to understand how someone is going to behave in the future is to look at how they have behaved in the past," Hunt said. "And if someone has violated the trust of the city and and taken advantage of an illegal use, I am not predisposed to allow you a permit to allow you to open from midnight to 2 a.m."

Hunt told the owners: You want to actually turn Shade into a restaurant? Swell. Do that. Then come back "once you get a track record that you're not operating outside the bounds of the law, as you have been." At that point, said Hunt, "I will endorse a late-hours permit." But not before. Which is why she moved to deny the permit without prejudice, meaning Shade won't have to wait two years before reapplying for the SUP.

Mayor Mike Rawlings then asked Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans a question: "For myself, for my first time around the block, if someone has a SUP and they don't work in compliance, what is the procedure to pull it away?" Evans said Theresa O'Donnell, head of Sustainable Development, would be better equipped to answer.

So she took to the podium and said, well, most SUPs come with expiration dates. And if there's an issue with a permit-holder, "The city allows it to expire, and when they come back in for review, appropriate action is taken." O'Donnell added that a city can authorize a hearing "at its discretion" to review someone's SUP.

"The moment they start not complying, our action ... how long would it take?" asked the mayor. "A month? Two months? Six months? O'Donnell noted that the process usually takes about four to six months.

The only other council member to ask questions was Sheffiie Kadane: "Do we know they're not complying?"

O'Donnell said, well, sure: "Evidence presented that shows ..."

Kadane interrupted: "And we haven't done anything to stop it?"

They both mumbled a few things, O'Donnell said something about taking it up with city attorneys, and Kadane concluded with a rumbling, "Hmmm, well ..."

In the end, Hunt's motion passed: SUP denied without prejudice. Shade's gotta close at midnight.