By Bob Pepalis

If the Brookhaven City Council follows the recommendation of the city’s Planning Commission, the owner of Nuts & Berries won’t be able to add parking to three residential lots behind his store.

Wearing green T-shirts with “KONA” emblazoned on them, neighbors along Kendrick Road told commissioners on June 4 that they shouldn’t suffer because a planned business expansion would cut parking spaces from the commercial business parcel.

City Council will hear the rezoning case at their meeting on June 10 at City Hall.

Mark Kick, owner of Nuts & Berries, wants to expand his business by 2,000 square feet. But doing that would trigger requirements of the Brookwood Overlay District. A sidewalk and landscape strip would be required in front of the business and that would cut 15 of the existing 22 parking spaces. Kick’s solution was to seek rezoning of his three residential parcels on Kendrick Road to commercial, which would allow him to create a parking lot on the back of the three lots.

Linda Dunlavy, who represents Kick, said the suggestion to use shared parking wasn’t viable because neighboring businesses had too few spaces to share. And customers wouldn’t be willing to park and walk from nearby businesses that might have spaces available.

Attorney Rob Stein represented KONA to oppose the rezoning.

“This is a strange rezoning. The discussion is all about the need for parking for a parcel that is not even a part of the application,” Stein said.

Erin Mosher, whose family lives on Kendrick Road near the Nuts & Berries, said her 9-month-old son, Jack, was up past his bedtime.

“He is the reason I am standing up here,” she said. “and for the 28 children under the age of 7 along that street.

“We are asking you to protect our families by making this a safe, family-oriented community. Don’t allow commercial to start creeping down the street,” she said.

Dave Barrs, whose Kendrick Road home is across the street from the proposed parking lot, was among the residents who were happy to see the Brookhaven Planning Commission vote against recommending approval of the Nuts & Berries owner’s rezoning application. “Why should any of us who have collectively invested over $14 million in recent years… assume our elected representatives would walk away from commitments of the long-term plan, comprehensive plan?” he asked.