Bexley City Council's recent denial of an appeal of a Planning Commission decision last fall appears to have cleared the way for a new restaurant to open on East Main Street.
On Feb. 25, council conducted an appeal hearing in which East Main Street business owner Maureen Ingram contested the Planning Commission's Nov. 25 decision to approve plans for a building at 2521-2525 E. Main St.
Ingram said applicant Anna Krupovylanskaya's plans to convert the building into a restaurant will cause parking and congestion problems at surrounding businesses and nearby Montrose Elementary School, 2555 E. Main St.
"We do not believe that the Planning Commission properly or adequately considered the parking (was not designed for) high-intensity commercial use," said Bruce Ingram, Maureen Ingram's husband and an attorney who represented her during the hearing.
Mrs. Ingram is owner of the M&M Sales Co. at 2529 E. Main St., a manufacturers' representative company serving the gift and stationery industry. She said that construction workers who have started work on the restaurant have used some of the four parking spaces allotted for her building.
"I've been in this location for almost 20 years," Mrs. Ingram said. "I live it day in and day out and (parking is) truly becoming a disaster."
Krupovylanskaya and her architect, John McKay, argued that the building is zoned for a restaurant, that they have fulfilled all the Planning Commission's requirements and plan to address the parking issue by offering valet parking for customers during business hours.
"This is going to be a very nice restaurant that will bring a lot of equity to Bexley," Krupovylanskaya said.
After a break to consult with legal counsel, council members voted 6-0 to deny Ingram's appeal. Councilman Mark Masser was absent.
Council members explained the reasoning behind their vote.
Council President Richard Sharp, who presided over the hearing, said he based his decision on the fact that the focus of the appeal was limited to the design elements of the building and that the Planning Commission had addressed the parking issue by issuing a variance.
"I believe that the commission reviewed the plans that were submitted and they chose to approve" both the building designs and the parking variance, Sharp said.
The Ingrams said they were disappointed by council's decision and are considering taking their case to Franklin County Court of Appeals. Krupovylanskaya said she plans to continue construction on the restaurant, with plans to open later this year.