On Monday night, WardsCornerNow.com received the following email from Tim Smith, a past President of the Talbot Park Civic League:
Well this one slipped right by…
How can the city even entertain allowing someone to fill out a permit to sell alcohol right across from Granby High School. Talbot Park does not need anyone selling alcohol in it’s neighborhood.
If the Masonic Temple is allowed to get a permit to sell alcohol then a precedent will be set and there will be no stopping the decline of Talbot Park. That is all we need is a drinking establishment in Talbot Park. Drunk driving, peeing in the bushes in your yards, trash in your yards, loud music, loud cars racing up and down our streets and don’t forget the gun play we have all read about in our local bar parking lots.
Good one Norfolk, this one should look real good on Norfolk’s plan to get people to move here. It should play out real good in the papers also.
I’ll be there for the public hearing, I just hope I’m not alone.
CITY PLANNING COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA APRIL 23, 2009 The Norfolk City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on April 23, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, 11th Floor, City Hall Building, Civic Center, Norfolk, Virginia to consider the following applications: REGULAR AGENDA
3. NORFOLK MASONIC TEMPLE, for a Special Exception to operate an Entertainment Establishment with alcoholic beverages on property bounded by Granby Street to the east, Brackenridge Avenue to the south, Colonial Avenue to the west, and Oxford Street to the north; premises numbered 7001 Granby Street.
Maps, plats, and other information concerning the above proposals may be seen at the office of the Department of Planning, Room 508, City Hall Building, Norfolk, Virginia 23510or you may telephone (757) 664-4752. All interested parties are invited to be present at the time and place noted above. Frank M. Duke, AICP Executive Secretary VP April 9 & 16, 2009 20051402
from The Virginian-Pilot classifieds : Legal Notices: Public Hearings : Posted 04/09/09
Please be sure to call the Planning Department tomorrow before anyone plans on attending. I believe this item will be continued.
The hearing has been moved to May 28th.
Some facts to ponder on this topic:
Planning District 36 (Talbot Park) covers the area from Graby High School to the Granby Street Bridge. The district is made up of a mix of Residential Zones (R-5, R-6, R-7, R-8, R-12, R13 & R-14) and Industrial Zones (IN-1 & IN-2) and a few OSP Zones (Parks).
The IN1 & IN-2 zones are made up of churches and DePaul Hospital and of course the Norfolk Masonic Temple. There are no commercial, retail or true industrial sites in Planning District 36.
The Norfolk Masonic Temple takes up a full block within the Neighborhood of Talbot Park.
Granby High School is to it’s North (across the street) and Talbot Park Baptist Church is to it’s South (across the street) and single home residential lots to the East & West of the Temple.
The Temple has limited onsite parking and during large events parking spills over into the local residential streets.
The Entertainment Establishment request to the city list such low inpact events such as Wedding Receptions, Banquets, Birthday Parties and Family Reunions all with a guest load of around 450 people.
In addition, the request also lists much larger impact events such as Boxing, Wrestling, Concerts and Mixed Martial Arts Matches (Cage Fighting) all with guest loads over 1,000 people.
An ABC License is also being requested so beer wine and mixed drings can be sold at all the above mentioned events.
My personal input:
I personally feel the larger impact events do not fit into this Planning District’s mix of residential zones and the church occupied IN zones. These larger impact events are more suited for an area of the city that is zoned to handle arena type events. The potential for future negative impacts to the local residential neighborhoods is greatly increased with the larger impact events outlined in the request.
In review on the Norfolk City Code of special interest to me were Sections 25-5.2(f)(4), 25-5.2(g), 25-5.2(i), 25-7.1, 25-7.2, 25-7.3, 25-7.6, 25-7.9, 25-9.8(a) thru (d), 25-10.1(a), 25-10.1(b)(1) thru (b)(3) and 25-10.1(b)(4)(aa) thru (b)(4)(cc).
This issue was never brought before the local civic league memberships for a vote or comment before it was scheduled for a public hearing. The issue should have been presented to the civic league membership before it got this far to avoid the impression of ‘back room dealing’.
I am the President of the Norfolk Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society and we rent the Temple for holding our meetings/rehearsals and performing our concerts. I have also been to some the larger events at the Temple. I disagree with your assessment of the scenarios you refer to (peeing in bushes, drunk driving, racing of cars, trash in yards, etc.) The patrons of these events were well mannered and the excitement was no higher than the end of a high school sporting event. The gentlemen who are members of this temple would not allow such actions to take place. You have other businesses (such as AJ Gators)with the area which can produce those activities on a more regular basis. The parking issue cannot be any worse then a high school sporting event when the opposing team and supporters require parking. This facility is grand building with the capabilities of supporting the community in variety of ways. The fact that the temple members have graciously open their doors for outside use is wonderful and should taken advantage of. I wager you have never been inside the building or met with the members or the manager, especially based on your comments. It was not incumbent of them to come to the civic league and city posted the notice of public hearing as they are required, which is where the discussion regarding this should take place. There was no back door deal, if there was there would not be a hearing. So instead of jumping to conclusions and maybe you should go visit the temple and meet the manager.
I see nothing wrong with this request and personally support it. I am sure that if we want the management of the Masonic Temple to bring it to each of the surrounding Civic Leagues (Talbot Park, Wards Corner, Cromwell Farms and Suburban Acres), they will be glad to even though that is not a requirement. This establishment has been in our neighborhood for years and has always been interested in the quality of life in our community, they would not do anything that would be detremental to our area. This is not going to be a “drinking” establishment. The permit would allow drinking during a special event/affair whereby the building is being rented. All renters are well screened and I am sure the Masonic management would not allow “drunkards” to wonder in the neighborhood. As far as parking, events are held at this building now and there is parking in the neighborhood when there is an overflow crowd. No different from when Granby High has an event. I don’t think one persons opionion from a civic league should shut down a request. Bring it to the civic leagues for their support/non-support!!!!
> My apology , It was the Wards Corner Task Force meeting. of this ,I was informed this evening at the Greater Wards Corner Partnership meeting. This has been a very confusing situtation. Due to this mixup we have to cancel 2 more weddings that have been prepaid for over 8 months. This (new) permit has cost the Msaoonic Temple Corporation Corp. over $20,000.00 in lost revenue. and is still mounting. Today our wrestling promoter had to pulled out of a june date due to uncertainty. In a time when we are struggling to keep our doors open to do our good works in the community. I will be at the Talbot civic league Tues. night. Again my humble apology.
> Gary Gouge
Dear Mr. Gouge, Apology accepted but not necessary. There are many community organizations in the Wrads Corner area so it is easy to mix one with the other. I can’t keep them all straight myself sometimes. Perhaps the Masonic Temple would like to join us in our efforts to revitalize the Great Wards Corner area. We need more help and with the leaderhip of the Masons that could and would help. My email is: email@example.com. Please send me a message as I would like to meet you and discuss your plans as well as the efforts of the Partnership and Task Force. I was not at the February meeting of the Task Force so that is why I know nothing of the proposed plans other than the already tainted version/s.
Wards Corner Civic League
You mischaracterize what the Mason’s are tying to do. No one wants it to be a bar, we, the masons, wouldn’t stand for that period. That building is very large and expensive to operate, all they are trying to do is offset some of the costs of operating it by renting out the Auditorium and Kitchen for special events. This building means a great deal to us and the purpose to which it is put is scrutinized very closely I assure you. As to the accusations that we have limited parking. It seems adequate enough for the school and the church across the street to fill up regularly. I don’t think you have your facts straight. It is the neighborhood that encroaches on our property quite regularly. Then, we have to pay out of our pockets to maintain that lot. No one is complaining either. That is our lot not the school’s and not the churches’….
I must point out the church is a very good neighbor and we use thier parking as much if not more then they use ours. We are all blessed. As far as the school my only problem is the student litter.