Thai restaurant on Maple, gas station on Claiborne return to City Planning with requests

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A Thai restaurant’s request for alcohol sales at its Maple Street location and a proposed fast-food restaurant in a service station on South Claiborne Avenue will return to the City Planning Commission on Tuesday, after their initial trips through the city bureaucracy were derailed by the council standoff in May.

The Singha Song restaurant in the 7700 block of Maple won initial approval from the City Planning Commission in March to serve alcoholic drinks with its Thai cuisine, despite some neighbors’ concerns that liquor sales would allow the building to one day repeat its history as a college bar.

The owners of the Shell gas station on South Claiborne at Jackson Avenue had originally secured permission to remodel the building into two units, one for a convenience store and the other for retail purposes, according to the City Planning staff report. The actual construction created three units, however, one of which the owners then re-applied for permission to use as a fast-food restaurant. At that same March meeting, the commissioners recommended denial of the request because the owners had not complied with requirements regarding the configuration of the pumps, the parking lot and the landscaping.

The City Council should have then made a final decision on both projects, but because of the lack of a quorum in May, the council missed the deadline to rule on them. To keep the business owners from having to pay the filing fees again and to move them to the front of the line, the council voted in June to ask the City Planning Commission to restart the process.

The planning commission staff stands by its earlier recommendations in both cases. The Thai restaurant should be allowed to serve alcohol, the report states, as long as it agrees to the standard rules intended to prevent it from morphing into a bar. The Shell station, however, still has outstanding issues with its earlier requirements, its report states, so the staff suggests that the commissioners should recommend against the project again.

The City Planning Commission meets at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday (July 24) in council chambers in City Hall. A discussion of the Neighborhood Participation Program is also on the agenda.

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