By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE — A recent zoning ordinance amendment requires any bars or restaurants that serve alcohol seeking to open in the city limits to meet a new set of parking accommodations.
At its Aug. 5 meeting, the City Council approved a recommendation from the Planning Commission to require one space for each 60 square feet of usable floor area for bars or eating establishments that sell food and beverages that include alcohol.
Restaurants that don’t serve alcohol currently must provide one space for each 75 square feet of usable floor area and won’t be affected by the amendment.
The amended ordinance applies only to new establishments, City Administrator Levo King said, adding that existing businesses that serve alcohol are grandfathered in and won’t have to make any changes.
King said officials recently became aware of the fact that most communities make a distincition between eating establishments that serve alcohol and those that don’t.
The issue was highlighted a couple of months ago when Three Nicks Taproom, 14594 Eureka, sought to add parking north of its existing lot to ease problems caused by patrons parking along neighborhood streets.
Residents had complained to city officials and bar management, which then sought permission to convert an empty lot into more parking.
Planning Commission members soon took up the ordinance issue, asking city consultants WadeTrim to research what other cities were doing and come up with a recommendation. The commission adopted the recommendation and forwarded it to the council.
The consultants said three sets of plans approved by city officials in recent years — for the Old Chicago restaurant, Chili’s and Styx Martini and Cigar Bar — all provided for enough space to meet the previous ordinance and easily could have met the amended requirement.
“I don’t see it as a big change,” King said. “All it does is brings is into line with what most communities require.”