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Backstreets Grill granted parking variance

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The Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously passed both a variance and special exception for parking at the proposed Backstreets Grill at 3006 Devine St.

The special exception allows leased remote parking within an existing parking lot at Sadler Insurance at 3014 Devine St. The 10 remote spaces will be leased from 5:30 p.m. to close on Monday thru Friday and full hours of operation on Saturday and Sunday.

The restaurant must provide an executed lease approved for parking prior to occupancy of the building, as well as evidence that the lease is still in effect for each annual business license renewal.

The variance granted approval of 18 on-site parking spaces instead of the 36 required by city ordinance for the 4,500-square-foot building. Tuesday’s meeting marked the third time the zoning board considered the variance, requested by developer Frank Cason.

During an April meeting, board member Calhoun McMeekin said he was not comfortable agreeing to the variance without having the leases run the full term of Cason’s agreement with the restaurant, which is seven years.

Representatives for and against the proposed restaurant presented arguments on Tuesday. One proponent called the expansion of new businesses along the Devine Street corridor the future and said the new restaurant represents the spirit of urban development.

McMeekin said he likes it when people fight for their neighborhoods but said neighborhoods change.

“This plan strikes a balance, and I’m convinced this is the way to go,” McMeekin said.

Cason, owner of Cason Development Group, said Devine Street has “come a long way” in recent years.

“With growth, there is always difficulty,” Cason said.

The Devine Street location will be the first expansion for Backstreets, a Hickory, N.C.-based bar and grill. It features American fare and the motto “Great Food. Good Friends. Bad Parking.”

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