Knoxville City Council made a decision Tuesday that could spell the future of shared parking for new businesses.
A debate over shared parking raised questions about the use of older commercial properties in Knoxville that lack parking space.
The council denied an appeal by Maha Ayesh. Ayesha lives on Lockett Road, and was appealing a unanimous decision by the Board of Zoning Appeals to allow Abridged Beer Company owner Jesse Bowers to amend the required number of parking spaces at his new restaurant from 43 to zero.
“The proposed establishment is described as a brewery and restaurant. I’m going to refer to it as bar, because that’s what I see it as, is a bar,” Ayesh said.
Neighbors were concerned about reckless driving, noise, and patrons parking on the street in front of their homes.
“It can’t be injurious to the neighborhood. We’re very concerned that it will be injurious.”
“I know I’m going to have people come down through my yard, maybe some of them will park in my yard,” said longtime homeowner Gene Herrill.
Bowers made an alternative, shared parking agreement with nearby Erin Presbyterian Church to allow restaurant goers to use their lot, a plan that offers little comfort to angry neighbors. As neighbors pointed out, the church hosts Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and the restaurant will have hours on Sundays.
The council noted the lack of other options; every establishment allowed in the general commercial zone requires parking that doesn’t exist at this property.
“The issue is really the parking, and it sounds like the opposition is really based on the use. There’s no use of this property without some type of variance,” said Councilman Marshall Stair.
The appeal was denied, and Abridged Beer Company will be continuing with its plans.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Reem Abdelrazek, who was there to support her neighbor’s appeal. “I feel like we were blindsided.”
Ayesh speaking before the council at the meeting on September 13.
A portion of the appeal documents filed by Ayesh.