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Restaurant plans at Hill Drug Co. sustain setback

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The former Hill Drug Co. building that has sat empty in Summer­ville since July will likely remain that way for a while longer.

A parking variance for a new restaurant in the former Hill Drug Co. at Monte Sano and Central was denied.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
A parking variance for a new restaurant in the former Hill Drug Co. at Monte Sano and Central was denied.

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.

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tl-bro
155
Points
tl-bro 02/04/13 - 09:40 pm
6
1
Unfair

So, Sheehans gets to use all of the off-street parking and a potential new restaurant can't use any of it? Where's the fairness in that? If neighboring owners have offered up their property for parking for a new restaurant, where's the problem? Why the different standard for Monte Sano than Broad Street? Very few restaurants on Broad Street have on-site parking, but they operate just fine. Sounds to me like there are efforts behind the scene to keep another restaurant from opening on Monte Sano.

just an opinion
2638
Points
just an opinion 02/04/13 - 09:57 pm
5
0
Progressive thinking

Well, I guess we'll just let that building sit vacant and DIE. For goodness sake, we wouldn't want anybody to have to walk from their car to the restaurants!

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 11:09 pm
3
1
Lemonade`

Let's make some lemonade out of this sour state of affairs. Here's my plan:

Run city buses to the corner of Monte Sano and Central once an hour till the restaurants close each day. Insist that both restaurants be closed on Monday as a courtesy to restaurant employees and bus drivers so they can have quality family time. I'm sure army efficiency expert and would-be mayor Alvin Mason can draw up the bus routes to get the patrons home and avoid DUI tickets. It's a win-win for everyone. TSPLOST money will be involved, so it won't cost anything.

allhans
23641
Points
allhans 02/05/13 - 05:24 am
6
1
Oh, posh and bother!

I can see that parking would be a problem, it was a problem when it served as my pharmacy. Perhaps they can purchase land nearby..I would like to see it happen.

Riverman1
83813
Points
Riverman1 02/05/13 - 05:38 am
7
2
Another Augusta building to

Another Augusta building to be demolished.

corgimom
32303
Points
corgimom 02/05/13 - 06:00 am
10
1
Let them open it up. If there

Let them open it up. If there isn't enough parking, people won't go there.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 02/05/13 - 08:45 am
3
2
Solution

Looking at the photo of the store, the solution hit me! Put the parking lot on the roof of the store!. Use some TSPLOST money to build a ramp up to the roof, install an elevator to get people down into the restaurant. Voilà!

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 02/05/13 - 08:55 am
3
2
Micromanagement

I want you to parse George Patty's statement carefully:

“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.”

You have to read between the lines in the story to realize that George Patty and the planning department are requiring this businessman provide private, off-street parking for 60 vehicles! That's right, sixty. Where did George Patty come up with the wisdom, the omniscience, to know that precisely sixty is correct and no other number? That's right, he's a city planner. He knows all.

This type of micromanagement God complex infects and infests our entire city government. It is behind Fire Chief Chris James’ request to void the ambulance contract with Gold Cross. James said that the contract, “. . . does not prescribe the minimum number of ambulances to be maintained in Richmond County at all times.

Yes, that's correct, Chief James, it does not. The free market does a better job of determining the correct number of ambulances and the correct number of parking spaces than does any government bureau. Please read Corgimom's comment above. It contains much truth and wisdom.

Corgimom's post should be printed, framed, and put on the wall of every Augusta department head's office.

shrimp for breakfast
5456
Points
shrimp for breakfast 02/05/13 - 08:56 am
3
1
I hope a restaurant opens

It would be nice to have a nice restaurant close to my home!

...point to ponder
755
Points
...point to ponder 02/05/13 - 09:09 am
5
0
Parking

If Sheehans would free up their parking spaces for cars instead of outside dining space then there may not be an issue ....
I believe since Sheehans rec'd the same consideration before they could open then so should the Hill Drug location.
I suggest to the realtor that they appeal this decision to the full commission.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 02/05/13 - 09:25 am
5
1
Government Mantra:

We've always done it this way.

Read Planning Director George Patty's statement again, PointToPonder:

Sheehan’s has always been a restaurant.

They get a pass. They get grandfathered. They also get to oppose Mr. Peden’s variance request in confidence.

...point to ponder
755
Points
...point to ponder 02/05/13 - 09:29 am
2
0
Parking... Correction

For the record, the Sheehans location had not always been a restraurant.
It's early use was as a grocery store....Moss and Walls.
Then came a history of other food uses.
An earlier precedent was set when Sheehans received their variance... Which they have abused by using spaces for their outside dining spaces.

jpbrig
181
Points
jpbrig 02/05/13 - 10:15 am
2
0
Carry Out

Augusta could use a good carry out restaurant on the Hill. No parking needed.

Time1
147
Points
Time1 02/05/13 - 10:32 am
7
0
I say reopen Squeakys Tip

I say reopen Squeakys Tip Top--it had parking!

itsanotherday1
43016
Points
itsanotherday1 02/05/13 - 11:29 am
4
0
I wish I could re-open

I wish I could re-open Squeaky's and restore it to its former glory.

justthefacts
21768
Points
justthefacts 02/05/13 - 11:54 am
1
0
IAD

RE-store it??...was it ever "stored"?? Haha. Hanging out in there before weddings @ St. Mary's was a bad idea.

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 02/05/13 - 12:07 pm
2
1
I hope something can be done,

It's easy for the people who don't live in the area, or visit often to say let's just open it up. They won't have to deal with the daily traffic created by the restaurant.

I hope something can be done, because this is a great area for walking between shops/restaurants. Maybe they can find additional parking somewhere nearby. The city should buy one of the Comcast buildings, and do something with the old fire station. The number of available parking spots in the CBD can't be compared to this small area. The number of parking spaces for a restaurant is much different from a pharmacy. People don't stay in the pharmacy for multiple hours leaving their car parked in the same space.

Augusta desperately needs to have areas outside the CBD where people can walk to the amenities. Harrisburg, Medical District, Laney Walker, Olde Town, Summerville, and Midtown come to mind.

The amenities on Monte Sano/Walton Way in Summerville can easily be connected with the one's in Midtown off Central Ave/Kings Way/Wrightsboro rd.

First Thursday is already gaining steam for being a popular event, and you only need to add more choices in the area.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/05/13 - 11:57 am
0
1
Mr Patty was the one who determined
Unpublished

the number of parking spaces at the new courthouse. His math is flawed. But we can be sure his pocketbook is full. LOL LOL

Mindless public office holders. Paper pushers. Unquestioned authority. A bureaucrat by any other name would still smell.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 02/05/13 - 12:12 pm
1
1
Church

The restaurant patrons could park in the church parking lot at McDowell St. & Monte Sano. Hopefully they will be courteous and not leave beer bottles in the parking lot.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 02/05/13 - 12:56 pm
2
0
Midtown

I know where the "Midtown" area in Atlanta is. I go there two or three times a year. But, countyman, where is the area in Augusta you are calling "Midtown"??

Dixieman
14943
Points
Dixieman 02/05/13 - 01:05 pm
4
1
2000000 POINTS

Obama's anti-business regulatory strangle has now reached down to the local level in Summerville! Let 'em open sez I.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/05/13 - 01:26 pm
1
0
Property owner at Squeaky's

Property owner at Squeaky's doesn't appear interested in it opening back up. Asked about it in 2009 and received exactly no interest in response to the idea. Just develop the restaurant to fit what's available and then if patronage exceeds the capacity, expand and grandfather it in, citing that previously, it was a restaurant. The trick is to get an eatery in there between the drug store and the ultimate product. Play the game yall!

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/05/13 - 05:43 pm
3
0
The problem is the right

The problem is the right party (ies) isn't asking and everyone knows it.

dichotomy
32906
Points
dichotomy 02/05/13 - 06:41 pm
4
0
George Patty has become a

George Patty has become a dictator making arbitrary decisions based on little fact and a lot of influence from the "right" people.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 02/05/13 - 07:22 pm
0
0
"Planning and Development
Unpublished

"Planning and Development Director": Augusta has one of those? Who knew.

chattooga
5
Points
chattooga 02/05/13 - 10:26 pm
3
0
There were 3 restaurants/bars

There were 3 restaurants/bars on the same block in the late 80's; The Tin Penny / Summerville grill at the current location of Sheehan's, Squeakys across the street from sheehans, and a soul food restaurant in the old Mcdonalds grocery across from St. Mary's, not to mention Charlie's liquor store on the corner which had no parking what so ever. Further more they allowed the Tea Room to open across from St. Mary's a year ago and it served food. The Hill Drug folks just need a good lawyer to take it before the commission.

Little Lamb
45938
Points
Little Lamb 02/06/13 - 08:55 am
0
0
Downtown

If you think about it, how much off-street parking does a proposed new restaurant have to provide if they want to open on Broad Street (or Reynolds or Ellis for that matter)? Answer — zero.

Obviously, this Summerville restaurant petitioner has not paid his dues.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/06/13 - 10:59 am
0
0
Yep, in addition to funding a

Yep, in addition to funding a new operation, you will have to shell out to sweeten up at least one or two other coffers. It's always been this way and always will be in beautiful Augusta GA

AUG Architect
4
Points
AUG Architect 02/06/13 - 12:23 pm
1
0
COMPREHENSIVE ZONING ORDINANCE

The City of Augusta has a Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance in place for issues like this.
"SECTION 4-1 General Requirements for Off-Street Parking:
4-1(k) If the required off-street parking space cannot be reasonably provided on the same lot, tract, or parcel on which the principal use is conducted, the applicant may be permitted to provide such space on other off-street property, provided such space lies within 300 feet of the property line of the principal use. Such space may be parking provided for other uses, provided the utilization of the parking area by the proposed uses does not conflict with the activities associated with the primary use, and that the applicant obtains written authorization for utilization of the parking facility on a continuing basis."

SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Written authorization of almost 50 off-street spaces was obtained from neighboring business owners.
As mentioned in the article "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"

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/06/13 - 05:24 pm
0
0
Aug Arch, I believe the

Aug Arch, I believe the problem is that somebody has to feed the monkey. If there is a shiny dime involved, better believe somebody will exhaust themselves trying to get it. Think of how much action that intersection has seen lately, nada, nothing. Whoever stands to gain from Eddie Peden jumping through some hoops has probably not seen alot of opportunity over the years. That's the problem in a nutshell even.

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