City cuts parking for new CARAG development

On May 6, the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment denied developer Ross Fefercorn’s appeal for more parking spaces for his two-building Uptown Row commercial development at 1221 W. Lake St.

City Zoning Manager Blake Graham restricted Fefercorn to 114 parking spaces to be used by both buildings, after the city had earlier granted 167 spaces. Some nearby CARAG neighborhood residents want parking restricted to limit possible Uptown Row expansion.

Graham’s report states Fefercorn eliminated Uptown Row’s basements, which cut the buildings’ square footage and, by city formula, the number of allowable parking spaces.

One Uptown Row building is already home to Wild Noodles Restaurant, Planet Beach Tanning Salon and Keep in Touch Massage. The second building is under construction.

Residents said they worry if Fefercorn kept the extra parking spaces, he could put another restaurant or high-traffic business in the complex. Emerson neighbors Justice Gibson and Kay Graham claim Fefercorn had agreed to not include restaurants and other high-intensity uses in his buildings.

They said a 1999 Fefercorn document listed a mix of professional services and only one mention of food, citing "possibly non-franchise food" — which Graham and others claims the Wild Noodles franchise violates.

Another neighbor, Phil Qualy, said the area has too many restaurants and bars in the area, which cause livability problems including too much new noise and traffic.

But Fefercorn said Blake Graham should not have been allowed to cut Uptown Row’s parking during construction and while he is signing up tenants.

Fefercorn said he’s not trying to add anything, just maintain his originally approved plan. He can appeal the Zoning Board’s ruling to the City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee.

In a related matter, Fefercorn also wants to put in new parking meters adjacent to commercial buildings along Emerson and Fremont avenues. The meters would displace permit parking residents now use.

At the May CARAG board meeting, Emerson and Fremont residents opposed adding meters, and the neighborhood board passed a resolution to that effect. However, the CARAG board also passed a motion recommending City Council approval of new 15-minute meters on Fefercorn’s West Lake Street frontage. They asked that the meters stay in effect until 10 p.m.