Planning Department approves proposed Roost restaurant with conditions

The City of Jacksonville Planning and Development Department issued a report Feb. 26 approving the Planned Unit Development (PUD 2016-55), with conditions, for the restaurant known as The Roost, slated for occupancy in the former Deluxe Dry Cleaner and Launderette on Oak Street.

Planning and Development Department staff recommended several conditions throughout the report as they relate to landscaping, on-street parking, driveway access, and outside seating that will affect the design geometry of the parking lot, by either adding or deleting parking spaces in certain locations.

One condition limits the hours of operation to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The original PUD stated a closing time of 2 a.m. then was amended to change weekend closing hours to midnight but with a provision that hours may be changed back at owners’ discretion.

The report indicated a recommendation against outside sales or service of any kind, based on department opinion it would be incompatible with nearby residential uses. The report also recommended a minimum of three tree bump-outs along the southern property border, but the PUD currently proposes just one tree bump-out in the parking area. The Planning Department also recommends the elimination of a one-way access driveway to reduce the amount of curb cuts and increase available landscape area.

The bill is now scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission on March 3 at 1 p.m. at City Hall, first public hearing at City Council on March 8 at 5 p.m., and by Land Use and Zoning on March 15 at 5 p.m., also at City Hall. If there are no deferments, City Council could vote on the bill at its March 22 meeting. 

The application, originally submitted Oct. 18, 2015 to Land Use and Zoning Committee, was revised to include two buildings and two adjacent parcels and redefined as development of a fitness center and restaurant, outside sales and service areas for the restaurant, onsite parking, and a small ancillary office.

SNAP Fitness, currently occupying 6,588 square feet in one building, will add another 2,000 square feet from an adjoining building. The restaurant, as planned, would contain 5,128 square feet of enclosed space plus 536 square feet of unenclosed, covered space for outdoor seating, however, the report advised against outside sales or service.

The project plans to offer 60 parking spaces including 42 new off-street spaces and 18 current spaces in the right-of-way (perpendicular parking in front of the buildings), however the report recommends converting the perpendicular parking to parallel parking to meet minimum depth requirements for a city standard space. The city follows the Florida Department of Transportation design standards of eight feet by 22 feet for on-street parking. Converting 18 perpendicular spaces to parallel spaces could result in a loss of more than half the current spaces, which is not addressed in the report.

At the time SNAP Fitness sought occupancy, an Administrative Deviation was approved to permit a reduction in the minimum required landscape buffer from 5 feet to 2.7 feet where the building was located directly adjacent to a neighboring residential property, the reported stated. “A condition of approval of the AD was the planting of 22 trees around the perimeter of the subject property. At the time of the writing of this Report, that condition for approval had not been met; there are no trees planted around the perimeter of the property,” stated the report.

Ted Stein and J.C. Demetree, as well as their attorney, Steve Diebenow, and property owner Anthony Saleeba, are keeping quiet about their efforts to move The Roost along for development. Efforts by The Resident to contact the parties have been unreturned.

In the meantime, P.R.O.U.D., the local group trying to promote what it considers a more appropriate development for the property, continues its campaign against the proposed 150-seat restaurant, gathering petitions and reaching out to members of City Council. The group provided a response to the Planning Department’s report:

“We are disappointed by the Planning Department’s lopsided report approving the proposed Oak Street PUD zoning changes. The legal ordinances of the Historical Overlay are not being applied. The report contains errors, both factual and errors of omission,” said P.R.O.U.D. in a statement. “P.R.O.U.D. is only asking for City Government officials to uphold the laws of our Historical Zoning Overlay (Sec. 656.399).  As citizens, we demand that the primary objective of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan—to protect residential areas from encroachment of intensive commercial uses—is upheld. It is obvious that a 150-seat bar/restaurant does not belong in a neighborhood surrounded by single and multi-family homes.”

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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