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|June 20, 2019 City Council Regular Meeting|
46. Motion to Amend the Zoning Ordinance Regarding Nonconforming Uses at 321 Habersham Street (Petitioner: Robert L. McCorkle for Fox and Fig, LLC)
The Mayor and Aldermen approved the Zoning Hearing at the June 6, 2019 Regular Council Meeting. The action being considered today is the approval of an Ordinance that reflects the outcome of the Zoning Hearing (See Exhibit 10).
The Mayor and Aldermen continued the Zoning Hearing for this petition from the April 12 and April 25, 2019 Regular Council Meetings.
Robert McCorkle, Petitioner (File No. 19-000812-ZA) for Fox and Fig, LLC, is requesting approval of a zoning text amendment to permit the sale of beer in addition to wine in a restaurant use within the RIP-A-1 Zoning District and permit earlier sale of alcoholic beverages.
There is only a single instance of the RIP-A-1 zoning district, which encompasses most of Troup Ward within the Downtown Historic Landmark District. Restaurants are not permitted within this district, but since the Fox and Fig Café (or its predecessor) at 321 Habersham Street was in operation before the district was adopted, it is a legally nonconforming use. Article F of the Savannah Zoning Ordinance establishes conditions for such uses. In 2004, the Mayor and Aldermen heard a request to rezone 321 Habersham Street from RIP-A-1 to RIP-D. However, as alternative to the rezoning, the Mayor and Aldermen approved the creation of Section 8-3134(g) on March 16, 2005 under File No. Z-040702-37207-2 that specifically concerns restaurant uses within the RIP-A-1 Zoning District. Since there are no other restaurants within the RIP-A-1 Zoning District, these conditions can be understood to apply only to this café. On April 4, 2013, the Mayor and Aldermen approved a request to amend Section 8-3134(g) "to repeal the provisions that require wine to be served or dispensed from a preparation area or service station not available to patrons and to change the hour at which wine service can begin from noon to 11:00 a.m." under File No. 13-000478-ZA. On March 19, 2015, the Mayor and Aldermen approved a request to amend Section 8-3134(g) to allow acoustical live music.
Beer and wine are typically regulated under the same license classification, so it is unclear why a distinction is made in this case. Permitting earlier sales of alcoholic beverages would also be consistent with most similar establishments in downtown Savannah. The café would still be bound by a range of other regulations, including a prohibition on “to-go” cups and advertising alcoholic beverages.
On March 12, 2019, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance to permit the sale of beer in addition to wine in a restaurant use within the RIP-A-1 Zoning District and permit earlier sale of alcoholic beverages.
Bridget Lidy, Director of Planning and Urban Design