No additional parking required for new restaurant

Another block of Nashville has been exempted from minimum parking space requirements for businesses.

The town council on June 16 extended the Village District one block south from West Washington Street to Pat Reilly Drive, between Jefferson and Van Buren streets.

The extension was at the request of Town Manager/Economic Development Director Scott Rudd. He had told the council last month that the parking space requirement was a hurdle for under-construction business The Chocolate Moose/Brown County Coffee in that block.

The land the original building was built on decades ago — as a walk-up restaurant — lacked at least a dozen parking spaces which town ordinance requires, Rudd said. However, businesses within the Village District — the majority of downtown — don’t have to abide by that rule.

New Brown County Planning Director Chris Ritzmann had contacted the town in February with concerns about that conflict between the Chocolate Moose’s plans and the ordinance.

The business owners had three options: Apply for a variance with the county zoning board, rent parking spaces near the building, or get the town council to extend the Village District.

Rudd told the council last week that renting parking spaces would cause the business owners a 25-percent increase in rent. They don’t own the building; they’re leasing it.

If they ever decided to leave, Rudd said his concern is that another business owner would run into the same problem with parking spaces at that location. Extending the Village District would eliminate that problem forever.

Some town council members wanted to extend the district all the way to the State Road 46 intersection, taking in an additional block and at least four more businesses. A suggestion was also made to cover the entire town with the district, not requiring anyone to have minimum parking based on the size of their building. But because an ordinance was already drafted setting the new boundary at Pat Reilly, that’s the one the council passed and signed for now.