Gov't

Sports Bar and Townhouses Discussed at P&Z

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Among the items on the Planning and Zoning agenda Thursday night were a new sports bar and a new townhouse development. The owners of the sports bar, which will be located behind Cane's at Sullivan and Wax, were requesting that the establishment be rezoned as CAB2. This was an item that heard lots of public comments from citizens on both sides of the issue. The bar, which would be open only to patrons aged 21 and older, had the proposed name "Wildcat Sports Bar." Proponents stated that they would like an establishment of this nature in Central, while opponents cited safety concerns, community image, and apprehension about the Central schools' mascot being used as the name. After taking many public comments, the Planning and Zoning commission voted unanimously to allow the sports bar, with the added stipulation that "Wildcat" not be used in the name, as they do not want it to appear as if the establishment is somehow related to the high school or available to high school students. The item will go before City Council before the decision is finalized.

The proposed townhouse development came up next, with several local residents speaking out against it, fearing added traffic congestion and more sewage and drainage problems. It was also pointed out that the proposed site for the townhomes, on Triple B Road, was set aside in the as-yet unapproved version of the Master Plan as rural-agricultural. The concept was generally accepted as being a good one, but there are too many potential issues with building at that site, and the commission unanimously rejected the proposition for that location.

15 Comments

  1. Mike Mannino

    April 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Dave,
    You know I would have to comment on this one. What happened last night is exactly why we have so much division in Central right now. There was a standing room only crowd at this meeting, the most I have ever seen for a P&Z meeting. People opposed to the sports bar were well spoken, had legitimate concerns, and they voiced them for well over an hour. They all came thinking their comments would impact the decision on this request. The Commission sat patiently and listened to everyones input, meeting the requirements of the system we have in place for these hearings. At the end of the public hearing, I along with most of the opponents, sat in disbelief as several members of the Commission stated that they had voted in another public hearing in the past, to approve this and were not changing their vote. I am not familiar with the details but I gather that some type of overall plan for the entire development has been approved as one project and now its a formality to approve individual sites. Anyone is welcome to correct me on this.

    I waited until the next hearing on the townhouses and when I went to speak, I asked if the same process, a pre-approval had been used for the townhouse development. You would have thought I slapped the commission in the face by the reaction I got. I am assuming they thought that I was accusing someone of doing something wrong, which I was not, I only wanted to understand the process. Closing comments later troubled me even more, being accused of still campaigning, being a ‘Johnny Come Lately” and numerous other derogatory comments.

    Here are my issues with this:

    1- If the Sports bar was a done deal, why play games and hold a hearing for something that has already been approved and let people waste their time stating their position.

    2- I was accused during the campaign of not being involved in the past though not true, so I have been going to every function I can, helping at Cooking though I have always attended, and have mostly been thanked for getting involved, especially at Cooking last week. However, last night I got the same old feeling I got before that caused me to run for council. We want your input if its aligned with our ideas but we dont want to hear from you if its not. Not going to happen. I am going to get involved more and more, not to stir things up as I have been accused of, but to give input from a segment of the voters that like me, are blue collar, hard working people who may not have time to attend forums because they have to work or are busy with their kids in sports, school, etc.

    I will be at the Council meeting on Tuesday to see if Mayor Watts stands by his statement made during the campaign that Central does not need any more bars. I do do believe this is his phlosophy but his challenge is to lead the council to align with him. I know he can, but lets see what happens. We need to be there to support him. 3 council members were at the meeting and I can tell you they are struggling with this one so you need to let them know how you feel to help them make a good decision.

  2. My_Voice

    April 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Mike,
    Agree on your first issue!
    It’s ashame but I feel like the Central resident’s opinion is considered “Johnny Come Lately.” Public image is huge….and with the newspapers, social media (facebook, blogs, etc) and word of mouth…One thing is very clear. ‘Don’t ask any questions’

    I applaud anyone for questions and wanting the true facts. There are always 2 sides to an issue and both sides should be heard. Not wrong..just different!

    Hiding records and being sneaky with “after the fact” meetings… just makes everyone wonder.

    If it smells like crap…looks like crap…well ..you know how the saying goes.

    About the sports bar…I’m indifferent..if the central residents want it…then good..if not..then the voted officials should consider that.
    It would only going to be a matter of time before someone under the influence gets in a wreck at that intersection….hopefully an innocent life does not have to be involved.

    And of course..if the bar doesn’t go through …we could always go with another bank, carwash, or mini-storage 😉

  3. Donna Dufour

    April 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    It seems to me that this is case of growing pains and a city government not looking far past the immediate future. Let me explain that statement. It seems to me the P&Z and Council has opened a Pandora’s Box by giving the okay for the new daiquiri shop back in October. I understand no one objected and it wasn’t very well advertised when the owners applied for the permit. Since that has happened I can’t see them telling anyone else no without risking a lawsuit (I realize I may be wrong). It seems the council needed to have the foresight to put limitations on the number of new alcohol permits allowed, especially within a certain mile radius. Maybe not even within so many feet from a school like they do with churches. It seems that an issue like this needs to be a “think before you speak” situation. In other words maybe the council should’ve postponed that daiquiri shop permit till they could’ve gotten some type of regulation in place. With this new establishment we will have 3 full fledge bars and 3 restaurants that serve alcohol within just a few miles if not a mile of each other. This makes bar hopping much easier and more dangerous. I hope the council realizes it needs to stop here and have something in place to prevent another drinking establishment from opening in the same general area. Maybe even limit how many drinking establishments we have at all in Central. The new Sports Bar owner made this sound like the kind of place you can watch sports and mingle with friends. Now matter how it starts out or is intended to be, there is always the risk of it having the opposite effect. They seem to be doing everything they can to make sure this is an adult establishment. Don’t forget teenagers can be very creative.

  4. Mike Mannino

    April 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    My Voice,
    I do have concerns about the the number of bars in Central. This is a small community, the example we set is easily noticed by our children, and if they see us in bars, they will think its OK to drink. Now I am not a hypocrite, I have a couple of beers with a meal at Sammy’s, not very often, and I dont judge anyone who does the same. But a BAR is a totally different situation. The MAIN objective is to drink, not eat, and usually results in someone driving under the influence. You can say thats a personal responsibility issue until they kill someone else and then walk away from the accident. Add the roads people will travel when they leave this bar and you have the perfect storm. This state has the most lax drunk driving laws in the country and this is a strong contributor to LA being the highest state in the US to insure a vehicle. There is no will among our polititians to change this because its a chain reaction. Lawyers sue, people get paid off, bars sell a product and so on and so forth.

    All the above aside, I am more troubled by what happened last night as I outlined in the first post. But thats OK, I’m not going away. I am at a point in my life where I can can devote more time to my passion. Honest, transparent, ethical government for the people, by the people, and it starts right here at home. Things will change or I will be banned from every Council meeting and Commission meeting trying to force the issue. Call me what you want, Johnny Come Lately, whatever, but be sure to include present and involved……….

  5. cd

    April 24, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I did not attend the PZ meeting, but apparently the sports bar was approved by the PZ committee.

    The bottom line is Central needs new businesses.

    This was an approval for a legal establishment in Central. If you do not like sports bars, then don’t go to it.

    This is a free market and we need to encourage new businesses in Central. Suppose someone takes the stance, ok we have enough gas stations in Central, or we have enough beauty salons in central, or we have enough of whatever type of business, then how are we going to attract new establishments to generate a tax base.

    If someone opens any new business in Central its success will be based on what the market demands. If people in Central like the business and its products, it will probably do well. If the business does not generate demand, it will probably not succeed.

    I hope the PZ continues to approve new business, then the public will decide its success based on the quality of service and product.

  6. Mike Mannino

    April 24, 2010 at 11:25 am

    CD,
    Actually you made a point I agree with. There is a point of saturation where you have too many of one thing and it does not bring more tax revenue, only causes someone to close, usually the new business. I have no idea what the formula is, I’m sure some high priced City planner may know. I am a free market person BTW but also practical.

    As far as legal business, there are many things that are legal in some areas such as casinos, brothels, etc. What a community chooses to allow sets the moral tone for that community. Again, I am no hyprocrite, I have a few beers but not to the point of becoming sloppy drunk and promoting it like most bars do with 2 for 1’s, free ladies nights. etc. The Governments Job 1 is Public Safety. We have already established we dont have sufficient police protection. Now we will allow an establishment that will almost assure that we will having some people breaking the law, which in this case, is not only their problem, but it puts my life at risk. Some of you people need to stop having tunnel vision, look at an issue in its total content, before saying ,HEY THATS A GREAT IDEA ! Hopefully, the Mayor will stick by his campaign promise and encourage the COuncil to deny this.

    As far as my main point, we had well over 200 people come out to voice their opposition, stupidly thinking we had some input on this. It was a farce, a done deal and thats why we had such a close election. Just like nationally, our polititians better start listening to the people that elected them and stop the disrespect and contempt they are showing for anyone that dare question them.

  7. Donna Dufour

    April 24, 2010 at 11:45 am

    While you are not wrong in your opinion, others will beg to differ. We could use a nursing home in Central. Right now if you have a loved one who needs more care than you can provide at home your only option is a nursing, retirement home. I know for some that is the last place some may want to take their loved one, but for some there is not another option. So wouldn’t be nice to not have to take them to Zachary, Denham Springs or Baton Rouge? Surprise! The State of Louisiana has a freeze on Nursing Home Licenses. No new ones. (unless that has changed recently). Now you may not be a proponent of Nursing Homes and might say good we don’t need anymore. But don’t because that is a business and employs people. We could use the jobs and business. By the way I am neutral on the new Sports Bar. When the applicant spoke it sounded like a nice place to go and I probably will on occasion. It wouldn’t be the first time I went to establishment like this to watch a ball game that we couldn’t get on TV. When I heard the opposition I wondered do we need it. I don’t have strong convictions either way. But I do think this type of business needs some type of regulation as to how many and how close to each other. The P&Z did approve it. This was the first P&Z meeting I have attended. One thing I noticed they did not listen to the majority. Not saying this was right or wrong, just an observation.

  8. Robby

    April 24, 2010 at 11:49 am

    It’s plain disgusting Mr. Mannino!

    Dirty back door politics as usual, they could care less what type of business it is, as long as it brings tax revenue.

    Boy I tell you, I sure miss the “Old” Central.

    I’m still seeing more and more of our woods, grass, acreage being destroyed on a daily basis. There won’t be any “country” left around here before long. I wish I had Ted Turner’s money. I’d suck up every bit of it, land lock it, and put wild bison on it.

  9. Mike Mannino

    April 24, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Donna,
    Before anyone assumes I’m just anti-growth, that is not the case. However, my idea of smart growth is establishing a Mission Statement, with input from ALL the citizens, that defines what we want to do, values we set, and how many of what type of business’s we will support. THEN, we make sure we have guidelines as to what MUST be in place in the way of infrastructure, support services such as police and fire, before anything is approved. Now some will argue the master plan does that. I’m here to tell you after watching years of the EBR Horizon plan and how it was routinely trampled, the master plan is a joke without people on the Council and P&Z willing and able to interpret and implement. We are saying one thing about what we want and doing something entirely different in many cases and nothig irrates people more than that. There should be no reason to have to even have people come out to a meeting to oppose anything because we should have clearly laid out plans that everyone can depend on to do the right thing. I challenge everyone who thinks we have a plan that will do this to watch what goes on over the next few years. The first 2 cases heard after the Master Plan phase 2 were Thursday night. The townhomes should not have even got to the point of being discussed based on the “Plan” yet save a few technical details such as a second access, it would have been approved.

  10. Kathi Cowen

    April 24, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I just want to say — Thanks Dave – for printing what is in my opinion a very fair and unbiased report of the night’s proceedings. I really appreciate it! Keep up the good work.

  11. Mike Mannino

    April 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Agree Kathi,
    Its great to have a place where you can read a summary of what happens at these meetings, no slant, and let the people state their opinion. I notice I havent seen anyone dispute my account, only continue to state their opinion on the rezoning. A person can have an opinion and thats subjective, the facts are facts.

  12. Paul

    April 25, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Mike,

    I understand your sentiments. What difference does it make if you are a “Johnny Come Lately” or how many council meetings you attend? Does that mean you lose the right to question our ELECTED officials at any point on any issue. Does that mean that your arguments aren’t valid or that your position deserves to be ignored. Of course not. There is a large class division in this city that needs to be addressed and rectified.

    The people of this city had better recognize that the initial representations made during the incorporation push 5 years ago have changed. There is no “Country Living in City”. We are already experiencing real city problems. It’s time we got our head out of the sand and start being realistic. Mike – I stand with you. I have absolutely no political aspirations but I guess I need to be one of those Johnny Come Lately’s as well. Only, like you, I can only do it when work allows, since I don’t own my own business and am not yet retired.

    Or maybe I will be content stirring up controversy. Because hey, it’s only a controversy if someone is trying to hide the truth.
    I promise you this – they can ignore your voice but they can never take it away. Keep it up – a lot of us out here are listening. It almost sounds like they are saying – we won now shut up. What’s next – they going to start governing against our will? Sounds like another body of legislators I read about.

  13. Robby

    April 25, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you Paul! Well spoken!

  14. Edward

    April 26, 2010 at 7:27 am

    The main problem with the Sports Bar situation is the way it was handled. I watched the officials mark down the opponent numbers as well as the proponents numbers as they made sensible comments and all the time they knew how they were going to vote before hand. How did they feel about that?. Sorry, contempt, power trip??. Then the anger expressed from the board that “people weren’t present when they previously voted to accept this”. It’s evident the will of the people was not heard. Is this another version of “CHANGE” 2010. I feel if the citizens of City of Central don’t cut this type politics out , CHICAGO here we come.

    Being a young city is no excuse/reason that the voice of the citizens should not be heard AND then followed up on. It is now that “we”, or is it “they”, are developing what our city will be like in the coming years.

    The candidates that I spoke with in our recent election “all” suggested “we” the people should come to as many meetings as we could, take part in developing what we want. The Sports Bar incident seems to be saying just the opposite so, Ladies and Gentleman and Mr. Mayor, who are supposed to be doing the work/will of the people, stay in the batter’s box and work for the majority, It’s the TRUE American way.

    If I read correctly, right at 200 people were at the last P&Z meeting. Let’s try to have 350 people at the next meeting. Get to watch our government up close and personal.

    Respectfully submitted as a citizen of the City of Central.

  15. resident

    April 27, 2010 at 10:31 am

    It doesn’t matter what the people want. The P&Z people and the City Council do NOT listen. They only want what’s gonna benefit them. I’ve seen it first hand when I was fighting with them about the Manufactured Home Ordinance they created. They wanted to “Better the City of Central”, yeah OK, by making it impossible for families to obtain affordable housing. It all boiled down to the Council and P&Z not wanting manufactured homes in the City. Everyone I talked to about the issue treated me like I was some kind of idiot that didn’t know what I was talking about. That’s why I voted AGAINST them in the last election. Some of them are still in there, but some are not. So you can go ahead and voice your opinion, I encourage it, because he who makes the most noise gets heard. I FINALLY did, but still haven’t received an apology. But that’s OK too, cause I ain’t done. And I am watching what they are doing, or trying to do.

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