My name is Heather, I am the managing director here at Quacks. We may have met at the Firehouse festival or in the shop. Allow me to add some insight into the chair issue we are currently facing. It is a long, long story...so I will do my best at keeping it short.
We took over this space in 1998. At that time the previous tenant had an Occupancy Permit for take out only. We failed to apply for the correct permit with our contractor at that time and have been operating as a dine in facility since 1998. We did not know any of this until recently.....
We purchased the Laundromat next to Quacks in July of last year. We plan on expanding our production space as well as our customer space into the laundromat. In order for us to expand we know that we will require 7-9 additional parking spaces based on the current requirements from the City. Currently Quacks requires about 26 parking spaces for the size of the main bakery and its production space.(we are just under 2500 sqft.)
In 1998 we signed a parking lease with Hyde Park Bar and Grill, he holds the master lease for the big parking lot next to Quacks. We have been paying a monthly fee for 12 parking spaces that our property didn't have. Our landlords property is Duval plaza, home to Julio's, Dolce, the cheese shop, the laundromat, the barber shop, Quacks and our Cakery annex. The 2 businesses that require additional parking outside of this property are Dolce Vida and Qaucks. When the barbershop closed, Dolce Vida expressed interest in expanding their kitchen at the same time that we purchased the laundromat and talked about expanding our space. At this time our parking contract and the one that our landlord holds for Dolce was going to be renegotiated. The terms of the new contract did not go over well with our landlord. Additionally we are unable to secure a lease independent of the plaza because the parking lot landlord does not want to have multiple leases and collect multiple checks. I understand, its irritating. No big deal....except that the terms and the price of the parking lease cannot be agreed upon. Our 18 year old parking contract in the mean time has been cancelled with out options to renew. This brings me back to the Certificate of Occupancy.
It was brought to my attention by Code Compliance that someone called..repeatedly..in a complaint that our Certificate of Occupancy did not match the business we are doing and that all tables and chairs must be removed or a proper permit must be provided. No problem right? Wrong. We need the parking spaces that we no longer have in order to get the correct permit for dine in seating...and no parking contract can be drafted. This brings us to the site plan.
Ed, our landlord, decided that it was time to see just how many parking spaces he could get out of his plaza with the new parking laws. He hired a professional to help him navigate the site plan review and submission nightmare that is the City. It is my understanding that if this site plan passes the review boards and committees and is approved, Quacks and Dolce will no longer need to look for parking outside of the plaza. The new site plan will provide all of the parking needed to operate as we are right now.
So, where does that leave us with tables and chairs? Well, once the site plan comes through, I can take that plan and the rest of my paperwork to the building department and apply for a change of use permit that will allow me to have the Certificate of Occupancy for a dine in restaurant. I will be able to put my tables and chairs back! I have also began the process for the Outside Sidewalk Cafe permitting process to replace the seating area. Bick at Hyde Park Bar and Grill signed off on the required document giving me permission to use the right of way directly adjacent to the big parking lot. When the permit process passes, the outside tables and chairs will return. We still need the site plan to pass in order to get the proper amount of parking spaces to accommodate the tables and chairs inside that I would like to put in. Then we can begin talking about the expansion. We will still need to find 7-9 parking spaces. But honestly, that's a bridge to cross when we get there.
I said I would keep it short, well shortish. I would be more than happy to expand on any of the information shared above to anyone who asks. Email or call me here at the shop. I am here most days! We have been really lucky to have such a supportive community around us during this really hard time. I want to thank all of you who have asked how you can help and the attention this situation has received. I have spoken with Ms Tovos office and several other members of varies offices and departments around the city and I can assure you all that this will be handled. I will fix this. That is a promise.
Thanks again everyone! See you around the neighborhood.