CEEHDA and NMCA attended the Board of Zoning Appeals hearing Thursday, June 16, regarding the Waffle House re-application for a special exception to remain open 12-5am. The following summary is provided by Mike Mecklenburg from CEEHDA.
“The CEEHDA position was that the reasons for denying the application one year ago are the same as today – namely, it does not conform to the C-2 zoning adjacent to neighborhoods — nor to the comp plan — any better now than before. We requested that if the special exception were to be re-granted (as likely) that it be with the same security provisions and yearly review that we have had since the last December review. Jennifer Gosnell – our new CEEHDA city liaison – made this case to the BZA. Joyce Murphy gave a very moving account of the trespassing incident last Friday night and said that knowing the two guards were on duty made her feel safer. Jim Gilreath of NMCA also gave an eloquent presentation on preserving the residential nature of our community.
WH wanted to get rid of the security detail on Thursday night, have only one guard on the weekends and abolish the yearly review. City staff’s position was to keep security arrangements in place and get rid of the yearly review. That is basically what the BZA decided, with the added provision offered by Erin Dando that the WH make more of a direct outreach to the neighborhood in the form of communication to adjacent neighbors and perhaps a regularly scheduled WH Open House. On one hand, I am sorry they got rid of the yearly review, but on the other hand, that makes the security detail permanent – unless or until WH petitions to modify it again.
Both Erin and Amy Hinson spoke forcefully on behalf of the neighborhood. Amy even suggested denying the Special Exception altogether and voted against the majority for that reason. Insofar as WH is still compelled (much against their wishes) to keep the security detail, I think we did okay. As you know, WH still has a lawsuit against the city over (as I understand) the principle of the city’s change to the C-2 zoning hours of operation and the timing of those changes. The suit will be heard this fall. We have spoken to Ron McKinney (City Attorney) about this and will keep you apprised – but that is mostly out of our hands.”