Wheeling residents Lara Graves and Philip Kendall want to add a little flavor to the Pleasanton neighborhood by opening a restaurant at the corner of Washington and Valley View avenues, but some believe the plan is a recipe for trouble.
The city's Board of Zoning Appeals heard from those residents on Thursday, but ultimately voted to grant the restaurateurs-to-be the variance they sought to reduce the required number of parking spaces at the future site of "Avenue Eats" from 13 to three. City Council already has approved the 1201 Valley View Ave. property as a "redevelopment site," clearing the way for the restaurant to serve alcohol, provided it closes by 10 p.m. each night.
Graves said she and Kendall are looking to create a "trendy" dining experience they believe neighborhood residents and students at nearby Wheeling Jesuit University are looking for.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Wheeling Board of Zoning Appeals members David Ellwood, left, and Steve Johnston listen to discussion during the board’s Thursday meeting.
She said proposed hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and the establishment will not serve hard liquor, offer video gambling or live entertainment.
The building's owner, Laurie McDermott, has agreed to let the restaurant use 10 off-street parking spaces during evenings and weekends when her law office is not open - a fact Graves said will be clearly posted for patrons to see.
But Valley View Avenue residents Diane McCullough and Randy Berisford and Washington Avenue resident Edna Schaub still expressed concern that the restaurant would aggravate an already congested parking situation in the neighborhood.
Keith Bell, also of Valley View Avenue, asked whether the business intended to offer alcohol for carry-out, something he said he would oppose. Graves said the business has no such plans.
Noting the issue of alcohol sales and permitted hours of operation already have been decided, board Chairman David Ellwood said the BZA's role is to determine whether unique circumstances make the current zoning regulations discriminatory to a particular property. The neighborhood, he added, has long been a mix of residential and commercial properties and while those interests clash occasionally, the city relies on property owners to respect each others' rights.
"We encourage business owners to be good business owners and encourage their patrons to park where they're supposed to," said Ellwood. "And we also encourage the police to enforce parking regulations."
A few residents in this same neighborhood recently have clashed over a proposed plan to add more stop signs to Valley View Avenue. That issue has been tabled until the 7 p.m. July 3 City Council meeting.
In other business, the commission also approved a variance for a planned "extended-stay" hotel - which will be known as the Marriott TownePlace Suites - next to the existing Marriott off National Road in Woodsdale.
The variance will allow Jonathan Bedway to move forward with his design, which calls for a five-story, 70.5-foot-tall building where current rules only permit three-story structures no more than 45 feet tall.
They also approved a variance allowing the Rev. Jerome Anderson to establish a church at 503 Warwood Ave. despite lacking the three off-street parking spaces required for a place of worship, and a variance reducing required off-street parking from four spaces to zero for Dawn and Gabrielle Trouten to open a retail store at 2153 Market St.