Turned in to the council meeting to watch the The Crown and Harp, Zubar and The Libertine get their specific use permits renewed; I know -- quite the life, no? Reason I wanted to watch was sooner than later that proposed Lowest Greenville bowling alley's going to come before the council, and I wanted to see what kind of chat the council was going to have about the state of Greenville Ave. and, more specifically, whether it would address the use of that Planned Development District ordinance passed in January.
All three got their SUPs renewed, per the recommendations of the City Plan Commission, but not before Mike Northrup and Bruce Richardson, representing the surrounding neighborhood associations, spoke about the parking problem on Greenville Avenue. Northrup, the attorney who helped kill the bowling alley at CPC, said this wouldn't be the last time the issue came up either, as "it affects not only this particular applicant," he said, referring to Crown and Harp, "but the forthcoming ones too."
At issue, he said, is the shortage of parking spaces -- as in, some of the older buildings have been allowed to exist with "zero parking spaces ... and that's a concern for the neighborhood associations." At which point he mentioned the 1986 Lower Greenville Avenue Parking Study, which said that area needs 1,500 more spaces for the businesses that were in existence way back then. But since those older, grandfathered properties were given their delta credits, saying they didn't need to add new spots, "that contributes to problems on Lower Greenville," as Northrup put it.
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He proposed the council use the SUP process to "remedy the problem ... The neighborhood says, 'We can sustain the number [of spaces] this particular operator has.' Well, what about the next one and the one after that and the one after that? Having a late-night SUP is not a right. It's a privilege, so the neighborhood suggests this council give due consideration to using the SUP process ... to help us remedy a situation we've lived with for over 30 years."
When it came to to speak about Zubar, Richardson took to the podium. He had nothing but the nicest things to say about the operator and Roger and Marc Andres, who own the building. Because, see, they haven't used so-called delta credits to keep from having to add spaces. They've done it "to code," in the words of Masterplan's Dallas Cothrum, who repped Zubar in front of the council. Richardson heartily agreed.
"I am here actually to report the ways in which this operator has distinguished himself -- and the property owner as well, Andres Properties," he said. "Mr. Northrup mentioned delta credits, and that has been a huge concern of this neighborhood. It's a little inaccurate to call it a parking deficit. The spaces do, in fact, exist, but with delta credits, even when someone has parking spaces they don't come off the map. What that means is one assumes that a community retail district creates a balance of uses because a restaurant or pub parks one [space] to 100 [square feet], where a retail parks 1 to 200. [Except] restaurants and pubs need more parking, so if we have delta credits and in those space that have delta credits we have restaurant-bar, restaurant-bar, restaurant-bar, this quickly exhausts parking supply in the entire district and leads to the suffocation, for lack of a better word, for less impactful uses."
The bowling alley will come before council soon. The parking issue isn't going anyway.