Some Riverside Residents Say No To Oak Street Restaurant
Some Riverside residents are upset about a proposed restaurant that would open on their street, saying the late-night eatery would disrupt the low-key, residential tone of the street.
On Tuesday afternoon, Nancy Murrey-Settle was walking down the sidewalk in front of her Riverside home on Osceola Street.
“My granddad bought both of the houses back in 1922, raised my father and my uncle here and then my dad raised us, and now I’m raising my daughter here,” she said.
She’s against the rezoning of a closed-down laundromat around the corner on Oak street. The City Planning Commission has approved it to become a 150-seat restaurant and bar open until 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. It would be called The Roost.
“We like our peaceful walks in the evening, and I’m afraid those will be turned into dodging cars as they’re circling around my block looking for parking spaces,” Murrey-Settle said. “Or if I want to host a small dinner party, where would my guests park?”
A group of neighbors share her concerns. They call themselves PROUD, says Kevin Pettway, a resident who lives across the street from the would-be restaurant. It stands for Positive Riverside Optimized Urban Development.
“The point behind the name was to demonstrate that we are not against development,” Pettway said. “We are simply against inappropriate development.”
He says the the required zoning change goes against the neighborhood’s historic overlay plan designating Oak Street a residential character area, with businesses being primarily offices. Which is the same reason the Riverside Avondale Preservation opposes the restaurant.
The old laundromat is currently zoned as a Commercial Residential Office. The zone change would make the building a Planned Unit Development, a designation that allows for mixed use.
But City Planning Commission Chair Chris Hagan says Oak Street is already commercial, with a Publix shopping center a few blocks away.
“This is a great use,” he says. “I think a lot of what the concern is, is the fear of the unknown. Are they going to have loud and obnoxious customers? Things like that. So I understand the concern there, but I think that you got a great product.“
He says the Commission took the residents into account when setting provisions like no food or alcohol served outside after 10 p.m. and not allowing Dumpster pickup and deliveries early in the morning.
Hagan says at the Planning Commission meeting, PROUD had great testimony, but there was also great testimony on the other side. He says he believes The Roost will be a walkable, community restaurant.
PROUD is gathering neighbors to speak in at Council meetings until the final vote next month.
Discussion will continue April 5 at the Council's Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting. The final vote is scheduled for April 12.
The owner and developers of the restaurant did not respond for comment before this story’s deadline.