Plans to expand Max & Erma's in German Village have been put on hold because of opposition from neighbors.

Plans to expand Max & Erma's in German Village have been put on hold because of opposition from neighbors.

According to a variance request filed with the city of Columbus, the restaurant at 739 S. Third St. wants to expand into an adjacent two-story house and build handicap-accessible bathrooms, additional seating, office space and a conference room.

Max & Erma's also is asking the city for relief of 11 required off-street parking spaces. No exterior changes are planned at the site, according to the application.

Because the adjacent property is zoned R-2F - for residential use - a variance is needed to permit the expansion.

Columbus City Council on March 5 tabled the matter at the company's request.

Max & Erma's spokesman Brad Ritter on March 19 would not respond to specific questions about whether the restaurant plans to move forward, revise the application or meet with the neighborhood.

He did issue the following statement: "Max & Erma's has always worked hard to be a good neighbor. We are very proud of our German Village heritage and very respectful of the community's historic character. We are currently reviewing our plans and taking our neighbors' concerns into account. An announcement on next steps will be made in the future."

Jamie Weilbacher, who lives on Frankfort Street, said he remembers when Max & Erma's expanded in 1987 and added 15 seats. Parking became so bad that permit parking was instituted in the area.

The latest expansion would only bring more noise, cars and frequent trash pickup, Weilbacher said.

He said the restaurant has outstanding issues: Employees make noise late at night in an outside area in the back of the restaurant, which also is the receiving point for noisy early-morning deliveries.

The restaurant and nearby residents have had some strained relations over the years, Weilbacher said, but neighbors have no adversarial relationship with the restaurant.

"Generally, given what they do, they're reasonable neighbors," he said. "It's German Village; you're going to get people stepping on each other's toes. Neighbors don't want to see a doubling of traffic (like) we did in 1987."