Nicky Rottens' parking woes continue.
The Planning Commission voted 3 to 1 reject a parking plan between the Orange Avenue restaurant and , located on the same block.
Under the plan, Nicky Rottens customers could park in the lot behind the hardware store, from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and after 4 p.m. on Sunday. The agreement also called for the restaurant to provide a uniformed, licensed security guard to monitor the lot.
The plan was rejected primarily because it didn’t meet two conditions of the city ordinance for joint parking arrangements:
- The walking distance between the partners must be less than 200 feet.
- The spaces must be shared equally by both users, the so-called 50 percent requirement.
“It’s a full day operation and the parking only covers evening,” Commissioner Harry DeNardi said, of Nicky Rottens. “It doesn’t meet the code. It doesn’t come close.”
The Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council, which has the final say. The council is expected to consider the parking plan in January. Another Nicky Rottens parking proposal, for the Albertsons center, was abandoned in the summer.
City officials had calculated the distance between the two establishments by drawing a diagonal line, which makes the distance 190 feet; the actual walking distance is about 100 additional feet.
In creating the plan they tried to honor the spirit, not the letter of the ordinance, community development director Rachel Hurst told commissioners.
She said planners saw the proposal as a way to meet the city’s commitment to encourage commercial development and use parking spaces that were not being filled at night.
The plan drew strong support from the Chamber of Commerce and MainStreet.
“We support the plan and applaud the city’s creative interpretation of the code,” MainStreet's Rita Sarich told the Commission.
One resident, however, was unmoved.
“I want to know if the city takes its rules seriously?” Marilyn Field asked. “The city has bent over backwards to satisfy Nicky."
The majority of commissioners felt compelled to follow the code exactly, something that clearly pained at least one.
“Nicky’s is beautiful,” said chairwoman Doug St. Dennis. “It is such an improvement over what was there, but we have this pesky little thing called the law.”