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The back and forth over the Big Bear Cafe’s battle for a liquor license reverberated through the internet after ANC 5C withheld its approval last week. And on Monday, owner Stuart Davenport‘s application for a zoning map amendment from residential (R-4) to commercial (C-2-A) hit the city’s highest court: The Zoning Commission, which decided to set the case down for a hearing when it reconvenes in September.
Not without some rumblings of trouble, though. The Office of Planning favors Davenport’s application because the zoning change, which allows a wider range of business uses, would be consistent with the District’s Comprehensive Plan—last year, in fact, the address was recommended for a residential-to-commercial zoning change along with dozens of other sites across the city. However, commissioners aren’t going to let it through easily. Michael Turnbull grumbled about carving out a commercial island in the middle of a bunch of residential, and Peter May worried that, since C-2-A zoning allows for an extra 10 feet in height, a future developer could construct a tall, skinny apartment building there.
Plus, he’s apparently been reading comment threads. “There are some legitimate concerns in the neighborhood about the use of this property,” May said. “The existing use seems to be a very comfortable fit…but gee, a liquor license there, or a sidewalk cafe? I’m not sure.”
Konrad Schlater raised similar concerns in absentia, and Greg Selfridge—mostly quiet in his maiden meeting—endorsed his new colleagues’ comments. So, expect Big Bear round bajillion in the fall.