Council gives greenlight to zone change aimed at bringing private club to Main Street
Backers of the plan say the zone change, allowing for a members-only club featuring a restaurant, lounge, and event areas, is the best way to keep the historic structure that once housed the Cross Gate Gallery economically viable.
"Just to keep the doors open, we thought that we needed to bring somebody else in and maybe have a more innovative use and something that could sustain us, " said Field Ladd, the son of owner of the property. "Our idea behind the club is, for me, a place in the center of town where people can come gather, watch a ballgame, have a speaker, have an author come..."
But the changes envisioned by the project aren’t sitting well with neighborhood advocates and some Bell Court residents, who warned the council altering the zoning to allow for the private club could begin eroding downtown residential areas.
One opponent described the idea as "an intrusion" into the neighborhood, while others questioned parking plans and whether the zoning change could lead to a slippery slope, damaging the character of similar neighborhoods near the center of town.
But objectors failed to win over council members, several of whom noted that changing economic conditions mean new uses to need to be opened up for the property. The lone dissenting council member was Bell Court neighborhood representative Hannah LeGris.