City Council is proposing a new definition of “restaurant” in Charlotte. Currently that definition does not include having entertainment. Entertainment would include live musicians, music playing (ie radio), tvs, anything. Council members want to propose that the new definition include entertainment. But, if it does, that would mean restaurants would have to close at midnight, and they would have to be 400 ft (roughly a city block) from any residence.
So the problem here?
Walkable neighborhoods such as NoDa, Elizabeth and Plaza Midwood would be hugely affected. Most of these restaurant/bar-type businesses make most of their money between midnight and 2am. That translates into most of the servers and live entertainment (musicians, singers, bands, etc) also making most of their money between midnight and 2am. So even at minimum, there will be a huge financial impact. And this is if the business meets the zoning regulation.
If the restaurant/bar does not meet this regulation, it will be considered in violation of zoning. This means that it will be subject to fines and ultimately closing or moving from its current location and client base.
This proposal is also a tangent item from the noise ordinance that has already been addressed. Everyone is now compliant with that ordinance. The already over-regulated local restaurant/bar/entertainment facility owners are being asked to give another mile on top of already answering to zoning, permitting, ABC Board, and countless other regulatory entities.
Why should you care?
The trickle-down effect to real estate will be devastating. Ask yourself what attracts you to distinct, walkable neighborhoods. For most, it’s the fact that you can easily get to not only work or the grocery store, but also to your favorite bar or restaurant. Now imagine that convenience is ripped away. That’s exactly what is at stake. Take NoDa as an example. There’s a parallel upward trajectory between the growth of independent restaurants/bars and real estate values. If the restaurants and bars go away, real estate values plummet. This affects you. Get involved.
So what can we do?
Sonda Kennedy of the Charlotte Zoning Administration is the person in charge of this proposal. Contact her via snail mail at 600 East Trade St, Ste 200, Charlotte NC 28202.
The Zoning Administration’s next meeting is March 5th. Be there to share your voice.
Keep your eye on the news and this blog. There will surely be plenty of opportunities to stand up for your beloved neighborhoods.