Development

Neighbors take Tommy’s Pub zoning contest online

Backstage Vintage Apparel, which shares a building with Tommy’s Pub on Central Avenue.
Backstage Vintage Apparel, which shares a building with Tommy’s Pub on Central Avenue. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Some people in Plaza Midwood don’t want to let the city’s apartment boom continue without a bit of a fight.

They’ve started a petition (text below) entreating City Council to deny a proposed rezoning that would allow a 97-unit apartment complex to be constructed on the land where blue-collar bar Tommy’s Pub and apparel shop Backstage Vintage now sit.

Tommy’s Pub has occupied the site, under different names, since the 1950s, earning a special spot in some neighbors’ hearts. But the bar doesn’t own the land, and DPJ Residential, a Charlotte company, wants to build there.

Porter Jones, head of the apartment company, has raised some points in favor of his plan. The $15 million project would bring more jobs, residents and – at a time of tight budgets – property tax revenue to that stretch of Central Avenue. The site is mostly vacant, with Tommy’s Pub and Backstage Vintage in a small brick building that leaves most of the rest of the land under-utilized. Jones said he would add more retail space, up to 5,000 square feet, than is currently on the site. And the land is partially contaminated with the leftovers from an old gas station, an environmental problem Jones has agreed to clean up.

But none of that has placated the opponents, who just want to see Tommy’s Pub stay Tommy’s Pub.

The rezoning request is up for a public hearing May 18 in front of Charlotte City Council. Here’s a partial text of the petition, which had more than 50 signatures as of late Monday.

“Charlotte communities have been inundated with multi-family housing at a rate which is unsustainable if the distinct characters of our neighborhoods are to be preserved. The cost of such unbridled residential development is not only the potential loss of small, local businesses like Tommy's Pub and Backstage Vintage Apparel, but the potential loss of the very residents who built the neighborhoods and make them unique...We understand growth is necessary for the health of a city, but too much growth, too fast, and without wise, sustainable planning is detrimental to the quality of life of the citizens of Charlotte. We demand our representatives in the City Council act in accordance with what their constituents want for the future of their neighborhoods and city.”

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