By John Schaffner

editor@reporternewspapers.net

The board of Neighborhood Planning Unit B unanimously voted March 3 to deny a liquor license application for a proposed nightclub at the site of the former Gold Club — the adult entertainment emporium on Piedmont Road that was shut down years ago by federal agents because of its ties to the Mafia.

Although board members accepted there would not be nudity involved with the new venture, they expressed concerns that the applicant, Buckhead resident Jonathan Clay, who has a background in financial services businesses, has never run a bar, nightclub or similar business and has no firm business plan for the unnamed nightclub, which would open in late May or June.

The applicant still is expected to take his license request to the city’s Liquor Review Board on March 17.

The NPU-B board also voted unanimously to disapprove a conservation subdivision ordinance that initially was proposed by the city’s Department of Watershed Management. The proposal has bounced around the city’s NPUs and Planning Department for months and has been withdrawn and modified more than once.

The ordinance is designed to allow developers to cluster housing in one area of 2-acre or larger parcels that contain wooded areas or a stream and to leave the difficult-to-develop portions as green space.

Development & Transportation Committee Chairwoman Sally Silver said the major concern is “it is not clear. There are too many gray areas.”

NPU-B Chairman Jeff Shell said e-mail messages from other NPU boards indicate they also are not comfortable with the ordinance as written.

On the bright side, the NPU-B board approved two changes to the city’s Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) and four requests for zoning adjustments, all related to The Streets of Buckhead.

As is usually the case, the full board’s actions on the land-use and zoning matters followed the recommendations of the Development & Transportation and Zoning committees, where the bulk of the discussion of the applications took place during a rare joint meeting of the committees Feb. 24.

Development & Transportation first took up the two ordinances to amend the city’s CDP, the first of which would switch properties at 305, 311 and 312 Pharr Road from the low-density commercial-use designation to the mixed-use high-density land-use designation. The second application would re-designate property in Buckhead Village from a high-density commercial use to the mixed-use high-density designation.

Silver explained that those who come in the future “will be required to have mixed uses. The lowered density by land use change is to cap density at a much lower level than currently is allowed.”

With the explanation the committee was voting on a CDP change, not a zoning change, the committee approved both applications.

That action was immediately followed Feb. 24 by the Zoning Committee meeting, at which four applications involving The Streets of Buckhead were discussed and approved by the committee.

The first three of those applications involved signage variances for properties within the Streets development area at 3035 Peachtree Road, 3065 Peachtree Road and 262 Buckhead Ave.

Approval of those variances would allow signs on the retail stores to exceed the present maximum 30 feet in height. The highest increase, from 30 to 59 feet, would be for Pharr Road. No signs would be above the tenant space. There would be no exposed neon, animated flashing or changing signs.

The fourth application related to The Streets of Buckhead involved a variance to reduce the on-site parking from 46 spaces to 11 at 273 Buckhead Ave., to move the valet drop-off at Fado’s Pub back from the street.