The Zoning Board of Adjustment decision many South Siders were anxious about finally came down last week when the ZBA denied a special exception for the Polish American Club of Western Pennsylvania to open at 2214 East Carson Street.
"I am very happy with the zoning boards ruling to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the neighborhood, and am especially grateful for the groundswell of support to oppose this establishment from other elected officials, community and business leaders and numerous residents ," said Councilman Bruce Kraus. "The united voice of the neighborhood clearly resonated with the Zoning Board of Adjustments."
The club was brought to the attention of neighborhood residents and businesses when the proposed operator of the club, Thomas Barnes, came to the South Side Planning Forum in March with his plans. Those plans called for a member's only after-hours club with a capacity of approximately 80, but a membership of up to 500 and onsite parking for two employees.
Hours of operation were going to be from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. The club planned to serve a "simple menu" of soups and sandwiches and have no entertainment.
At the zoning hearing on April 14, 2011, Mr. Kraus said, "Clearly the community stands in opposition."
Adding "critical mass" with parking has been reached in South Side, the councilman referenced the illegal parking sweep in the neighborhood in October 2010 when nearly 1,000 cars were issued citations for illegal parking and hundreds more were towed.
"There simply is no more parking," he said at the time.
In the decision, the ZBA members cited the proposed use would "create detrimental transportation impacts, resulting in traffic volumes that exceed the capacity of the streets and intersections likely to be used by traffic to and from the proposed development.
"Applicant testified that a large portion of the club's membership will travel to the club from outside of the South Side. The board finds that the applicant has not provided adequate parking to offset this influx of people and members will have to park on the street, exceeding the capacity of the street. The board finds that this influx of vehicles is detrimental in a neighborhood with a parking saturation problem."