The former Hill Drug Co. building that has sat empty in Summerville since July will likely remain that way for a while longer.
A request to reduce the number of required parking
spaces, and thus allow a restaurant at the building at Monte Sano and Central avenues, was rejected Monday by Augusta Planning Commission.
Greenwood, S.C., resident Eddie Peden is trying to turn the former pharmacy into Hill Drug Food and Beverage Co. He applied for an alcohol license in January, which the Augusta Commission approved contingent on his receiving a parking variance.
The building is next to Sheehan’s Irish Pub on Central and down the street from St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church and Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church.
A lack of available on-street parking proved detrimental to Peden’s efforts.
“The overriding consideration should be that while there is a restaurant next to it that provides very little parking, it’s always been a restaurant,” Planning and Development Director George Patty said. “If you cross this line and allow this building that’s always been a neighborhood business to become a restaurant that has much higher parking requirements, then you’re going to have to do that for all of these other commercial buildings.”
The variance aimed to reduce the required parking from 60 to 15 spots, while ensuring that adequate off-street parking would be provided. Letters of permission from neighboring property owners would allow Peden to use their land for parking, accommodating nearly 50 vehicles, said Blanchard and Calhoun property management director Davis Beman.
“What we’re asking is that that be identified as required parking needed for this,” he said.
After speaking to neighborhood residents and business owners, Patty concluded that parking demands would be “overwhelming” if they set a precedent for other businesses to come to the area.
“With the churches you’ve got up there now and the existing businesses, I just don’t think you want to cross that line,” he said.
Peden and Beman declined to comment after the meeting.