June 27, 2015

Approved: Tom Rai Restaurant And Bar

On Thursday the Planning Commission voted 6-0 to allow Tom Rai Restaurant and Bar to open on 24th St.

While adding 2 additional units to the building at 4022 24th St is a bonus, neighbors were concerned about plans to expand what used to be Bliss Bar to a full service restaurant with amplified music. The handful of neighbors who spoke at the Planning Commission's third hearing restated their prior objections to noise, loss of green space, lack of parking and an unwillingness of the project sponsor to work with them. They especially decried having a "nightclub" on 24th St.

The Commissioners expressed disappointment that a more collaborative solution wasn't reached, but once determining that the rear yard modifications met guidelines it was obvious that they were most concerned about hours of operation and whether to allow entertainment. The project sponsor reminded everyone that the current operating permit allows for a full bar open until 2am everyday, and that regardless of permits Bliss Bar regularly had loud music, outdoor access and didn't maintain the green space.

Commissioner Moore led the charge to simplify hours granted in the conditional use permit so that Tom Rai and neighbors would know what to expect. After debate, commissioners approved the permit with the following conditions added:
  • Permitted hours of operation and entertainment shall be 9am-10pm Sunday - Thursday, and 9am-1am Friday and Saturday.
  • Tom Rai is required to install a noise limiter (automatically cuts power to amplifiers if sound levels are too high)
  • Tom Rai will return for an informational presentation to the Planning Commission 6 and 12 months after opening to report on adherence to permit restrictions. Public comment will be allowed.
  • The Zoning Administer will approve the necessary rear year modification, but Tom Rai will have to work with him to improve the design and sustainability of the green roof.
In the end, neighbors succeeded in assuring green space (in the form of a green roof and trees). But the project sponsor was granted a full restaurant with live entertainment open for longer hours than originally asked for. One of the sponsor's final comments: "Please give us the opportunity to succeed."

[Video: 6/26/15 Planning Commission Hearing, Item 16]
[NVSF: This Week At The Planning Commission: Tom & Rai Will Move Into Rebuilt Bliss Bar (3/25/15)]

[NVSF: Revised Proposal For Tom Rai Restaurant And Bar]
[Planning: 4022-4026 24th St (PDF)]