Council Denies Black Market Moto Saloon Special Use Permit - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Council Denies Black Market Moto Saloon Special Use Permit

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The Black Market Moto Saloon will not be able to host live music. The restaurant was denied a special use permit during Monday night's Charlottesville City Council meeting.

The decision is contrary to the Planning Commission's preliminary approval for the permit under the condition that bands would stop playing at certain times on week nights and weekends, and that noise from the establishment was limited to 75 decibels.

"It really does come down to the whole language of harmonious use," said Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos. "And harmonious with existing patterns of use within the neighborhood, and I think it's not. And I think it's also not in conformity with our city's upcoming comprehensive plan and the work we were doing on that."

Many councilors expressed that the restaurant itself brings a lot to the community, but could not make the decision on the establishment or its owner.  But they said that the neighborhood as a whole, and the possible precedent the decision could set on zoning, also had to be taken into account.

"To be putting it forever more in the corner of this building when the zoning doesn't allow it, I can't support this either," said City Councilor Dede Smith.

Council members voted against the permit four to one. It comes just days after a special meeting was conducted at the saloon to see if noise coming from the club was above or below 75 decibels. The test showed coming from outside the club averaged in the 60s.

"First, the sound test didn't simulate a live performance with a full crowd and overflow parking on the street," said councilor Kathy Galvin. "However, we did have the benefit of having a real live demonstration of these impacts on the neighborhood some time between February 1 and July 7 when the applicant violated the COO," she continued.

Council also approved having a 13-member steering committee to focus on improvements for the Belmont neighborhood. They will identify sections of the neighborhood that need work, including landscaping, housing, and transportation.

Councilors also received a report on the Green Dot Project—a plan to address poverty in Charlottesville over the next few years. It's an expansion of the Orange Dot Project.

One of the overall goals is to provide less skilled people with jobs. Talks included creating a community kitchen, training and production space, and affordable housing.

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