Archive | August, 2010

CHS: “Volunteer Park Cafe confident as time comes to determine if it stays on Galer.”

31 Aug
Today, reporter “seadevi” at CHS (aka: The Capitol Hill Blog) wrote:

… way back in June when the idea of a cafe suddenly finding itself operating in a development zone it isn’t supposed to be operating in sounded like a big, scary thing. Now that’s it late August, everything is coming up roses, it seems, for Volunteer Park Cafe.

CHS spoke with VPC’s Ericka Burke who confirmed that the cafe will file its change of use application in the next two weeks with DPD and is confident that they have City Hall’s support in continuing in the space where they opened their doors in January 2007.

Once the change of use application is filed, the public will have a two-week period of time to submit comments. Burke expressed confidence in VPC’s continued viability and said that Seattle’s Office of Economic Development has been working closely with her and fellow owner Heather Earnhardt in filing their change of use application.

But there are still some thorny issues to work out and the possibility that the neighbor who originally made the complaint to DPD will get litigious and bring an expensive lawyer to the table.

Despite a “compliance due” date of July 1st, DPD has continued to allow the cafe to operate and the department has said VPC will be allowed to continue operating as the public process plays out.

You can read the full article here.

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CHS: “Neighbors have plenty to say about Volunteer Park Cafe.”

31 Aug

As a companion piece to his earlier article, editor “jseattle” at CHS (aka: The Capitol Hill blog) wrote the first news piece showing the conflict from other than VPC’s perspective:

Unlike two other news outlets in the city covering this story, we haven’t mentioned his name on CHS until now. Here’s why. The man who made the original complaint to the Department of Planning and Development about Volunteer Park Cafe’s land-use issues wasn’t the only neighbor to complain to the City of Seattle, a group forming to represent neighbors in the area says.

According to the group, the situation at 17th Ave and Galer isn’t Paul Jones vs. Volunteer Park Cafe. It’s a growing group of residents who live nearby and have concerns about the scale the popular restaurant is trying to achieve …

Jones said he took his concerns up with the cafe in February and was informed that the owners had been advised by a lawyer that their use of the space was legitimate. Jones said he knew better and filed the complaint with DPD in May.

Jones also tells CHS that he didn’t intend to be part of the story. “You’re the first people I’ve talked to,” Jones said. “When I made the complaint, the city said my name would be confidential. ‘We highly recommend you not communicate with the owner and that you allow the city to handle this,’ they said.”

When CHS asked DPD staff to provide names of neighbors who had complained in the situation, we were told the names of complainants were confidential.

You can read the full article here.

Double-whammy parking impact.

16 Aug

12:30pm at corner of 17th and Galer.

Two parking impacts at once: delivery truck blocks “Stop” sign and red zone, while across the street in the shade, two cars block the fire hydrant.

The two parked cars belong to VPC owners Ericka Burke and Heather Earnhardt.

Note all the available legal parking.

VPC hosts illegal event on new patio

5 Aug

Illegal event, apx. 20 people; half the number VPC hopes to serve at each dinner seating.

This evening, Volunteer Park Cafe hosted a gathering on their new back patio. Billed as a benefit, the event nevertheless violated their zoning.

UPDATED 10/14th: VPC again seats diners illegally.

Several neighbors complained about the excessive noise. One neighbor complained directly to VPC owner Ericka Burke. A screaming match ensued between Burke and the neighbor.

The back yard at 1501 17th Ave. E. is zoned to the residential upper floor. Only the grocery space on the first floor is zoned for non-conforming use as a business. The split zoning and the non-conforming use status both defer to the primary zoning of the neighborhood: SF 5000 (single family homes on lots of at least 5000 sq. ft.)

If VPC wishes to use the back yard of 1501 for restaurant purposes, they must apply to the city to change that specific land use from residential zoning to non-conforming use as a restaurant.

At tonight’s event, approximately 25 people populated the back patio. Should VPC successfully change the back yard zoning to ‘restaurant’ and serve lunch and dinner, they have stated they expect to be able to sit up to 40. One could extrapolate that nightly dinners would be twice as noisy as this evening’s illegal event.