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Bakery's lack of parking no hurdle to expansion

In redux of 2011 vote, Pattycake owner's request granted by CAC

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More than two years after receiving the Clintonville Area Commission's guarded blessing to open a carryout business with no on-site parking spaces, the owner of a North High Street vegan bakery was back again last week to ask for the same thing.

This time around, Jennie Scheinbach said, the funding is in place to make her dream of an expansion of Pattycake Bakery, 3009 N. High St., a reality.

Although no commission members voted against the request, three abstained from taking a position.

The carryout operation, to be called City Beet Cafe, would be on the same parcel as the existing bakery but with an address of 3003 N. High St., CAC zoning and variance committee Chairwoman Dana K.J. Bagwell told fellow commission members.

The business expansion would take over the space that had been occupied by Faulkner Realty.

The requested variance is for zero parking spaces instead of the 23 required by city code, Bagwell said -- "which is kind of a big deal," she added.

However, Bagwell said neighbors normally object when parking reductions are up for her committee's consideration, and neither she nor District 2 representative Nancy Kuhel had heard a single complaint.

Pattycake Bakery, a worker-owned cooperative, according to Scheinbach, has been at the High Street location for eight years.

"We try to be Clintonville's bakery," she said.

The carryout, which would have seating for as many as 40 people, architect Tim Lai told CAC members, and would offer fresh juices, smoothies, dressings, breads and more, Scheinbach said.

The request is the same as the one area commission members approved by a vote of 7-1 in June 2011, Lai said, but with reduced seating.

Customers are encouraged to place pickup orders online or via phone, Scheinbach said. They also are encouraged to walk or ride bikes to the bakery.

D Searcy, District 9 representative, pointed out that by eliminating the curb cuts in front of the former Faulkner Realty site, two more on-street parking spaces could be added.

Scheinbach said she must renew a lease for 12 parking spaces nearby before city officials would even hear the request for the variance.

Kuhel expressed grave reservations about setting a precedent by allowing a business to open without any on-site parking.

She also said the variance would go with the property, meaning some future owner might create a greater parking problem for nearby residents than the bakery.

"I share the concern," said Randy Ketcham, District 6 representative.

"I hear you," Scheinbach replied. "I don't want to move. I love that spot. It's our home. We want to be there forever."

She added Pattycake Bakery's co-op owners intend to buy the property and have that as a contingent in the existing lease.

Sarah Snyder, who was the CAC's District 2 representative at the time the variance was approved in 2011, spoke in support of granting the same leeway this time around. She noted the building is "unique architecturally," and that few other uses could be made of the property.

Voting in favor of the request were Searcy, Bagwell, Rob Wood of District 1, Libby Wetherholt of District 3, Jason Meek of District 7 and Kristopher Keller of District 8.

Kuhel and Ketcham abstained, as did Chairman Daniel B. Miller, who generally does so unless called on to break a tie vote.

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