By John Schaffner
Reid Zeising, owner of Genki Noodles & Sushi in the West Village area of Buckhead, went before Neighborhood Planning Unit B Jan. 5 seeking approval for serving alcoholic beverages in an expanded lower level of the restaurant.
Zeising’s request for a liquor license was approved, but not before he received a lecture about “illegal” multiple dipping on parking spaces by bars and restaurants from NPU-B board members, a topic that has become a hot issue with the NPU.
The business at 3186 Roswell Road, one of the oldest continuing operating restaurants in Buckhead’s West Village, requires a liquor license for the new space. Zeising lost the lease on space next door that was previously part of the restaurant, so in order to maintain the same amount of space the restaurant previously occupied, he renovated the lower level.
The overall restaurant space did not increase, so he was not required to have additional on-site parking.
That did not stop Sally Silver, chair of the NPU’s Transportation and Development Committee, and NPU-B Chairman Jeff Shell from holding an extended discussion of how many of the bars and restaurants in the West Village are claiming the same limited number of parking spaces for their individual “exclusive” use.
Zeising said he had an agreement with the valet parking group that handles most of the West Village establishments, indicating he had exclusive use of the required number of spaces.
Silver and Shell countered that other bars and restaurants claim the same thing about the same parking spaces. Silver said the city is getting ready to crack down on this issue and warned Zeising he should prepare for that.
Silver, who also works for Dist. 7 City Councilman Howard Shook and spends a lot of time at City Hall, said she has been told that the city is going to get tough on ensuring that these establishments really do have the required number of parking spaces “exclusive and just for the use of their patrons.”
She told Zeising that in order to comply with the requirements, each space designated exclusively for a bar or restaurant must have a sign posted stating that. She said if there is no sign on the space, it will not be considered exclusive for that establishment and cannot be considered in meeting the number of spaces legally required.
Shell also pointed out that some of the establishments in the West Village, including those along Roswell Road, had built outdoor seating areas on the front of their establishments after receiving their licenses. He pointed out that those outdoor additions had actually removed some of the available parking spaces, raising another red flag about whether the establishments maintained the required number of parking spaces.
Zeising said an outdoor addition that had been built on his place and the business next door only removed about eight parking spaces.
Having been warned about the pending city crackdown, Zeising did say he was going to ask the valet parking company to place signs on the spaces he is supposed to have exclusively for his use.