Last week I wrote a post detailing Volunteer Park Cafe’s troubles with a neighbor who opposed the owners’ plans to start serving outdoors. To see if he couldn’t thwart the anticipated al fresco arrangement, the neighbor researched the property permits and found that the building had never been zoned as a cafe. It was zoned as a grocery store (which it once was).
Both Slog and the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog have reported further on the story. Slog’s Cienna Madrid identified the neighbor as Paul Jones (I guess I should stop referring to him as Mr. Roper), and talked to a rep from the Department of Planning and Development. From Madrid’s post:
“It’s a unique situation but not unheard of,” says DPD spokesman Bryan Stevens. Stevens explains that VPC is the only business operating in an area zoned for residential use. The cafe is housed in a building that was a grocery store a century ago, and the neighborhood essentially grew up around it. When the area was eventually zoned for residential use, the building was grandfathered in. “Technically, a store wouldn’t be allowed there now,” Stevens says.
So now, according to the article, the DPD will treat VPC as if it were a grocery store whose owners planned to turn it into a cafe, and thus they will determine whether Volunteer Park Cafe can continue to operate in its current location. Don’t expect anything to happen over night. CHS talked to Stevens too, and he told the blog that the process would take three to five months.
In closing, I think Madrid is a pretty cool last name.