Owensboro City Commissioners will decide at their next meeting whether to allow a downtown property to be rezoned in order to allow Tiki Lab — a proposed restaurant/bar — to be built there. While the Owensboro Metropolitan Planning Commission has already approved the rezoning, a few concerned citizens are appealing the decision.
City Manager Nate Pagan said during Tuesday’s Commission meeting that this appeal marks the second one the City has ever received regarding a rezoning matter.
In April, the OMPC voted 6-1 to recommend rezoning 407 East 3rd Street from I-1 Light Industrial to B-2 Central Business.
The rezoning application came from property owners Daniel and Maria Keaveney. At the OMPC hearing in April, they said while they don’t have an architectural plan for Tiki Lab yet, they do plan to use their culinary and bartending backgrounds to provide a menu that is roughly 50% alcohol-centered. They also plan to provide bartending classes and yoga meetings, and offer a casual gathering place and thought that the property would be prime considering its proximity to the rest of downtown.
Brian Howard, OMPC Executive Director, recapped for Commissioners on Tuesday that there was some opposition to the decision made in April.
“Questions were asked mainly pertaining to the hours of operation, potential traffic generation, and really the appropriateness of a specific use of the property versus the overall general zoning of the property,” Howard said.
In submitting their recommendation, the OMPC included the following description from the public hearing about the application: “From the audience, Terry Woodward, Carol Alvey, Marian Lanham, Angie Woodward, and LeAnne Caselden voiced concerns pertaining to traffic, parking, noise, hours of operation, and the appropriateness of a bar at the subject property, Commissioners Fred Reeves and Skyler Stewart questioned the applicants’ desire to operate from the subject property and the anticipated occupancy at the establishment. The applicants, Daniel and Maria Keaveney, answered all questions from the audience as well as from Commissioners Reeves and Stewart. Commissioners Irvin Rogers and Manuel Ball sought clarification from staff in regards to the use’s parking requirements and the appropriateness of the B-2 Central Business zone. Terry Woodward also sought clarification regarding the required distance separating an alcohol establishment from a church. All of such questions were addressed by OMPC Director Brian Howard and by OMPC legal counsel. There was no further public comment entered into the record at the meeting. The rezoning will become final 21 days after the planning commission meeting unless an aggrieved person or the appropriate legislative body files a petition with the OMPC office.”
The decision to finalize the rezoning is now in the hands of City Commissioners, who decided to take more time to consider the issue and have further conversation before voting on the ordinance at their next meeting.