It is a rather simple equation. Bar + neighborhood homes = conflict. Fondren residents are upset that a bar/pizza joint/pool hall/whateveryoucallit opened at the corner of Patton and North State Street. The complaints soon arose and Patton Avenue residents took their fight to City Hall this week. The video posted below shows a stream of neighbors addressing the City Council.
Anna Wolfe reported in the Clarion-Ledger:
Jackson's Chip Matthews opened the doors to Fondren Garage, which features a walk-up, open-air bar decorated with bulbs, about a month ago. Since then, he's hosted crowds of people from four to 300.
While he has rented a 50-space parking lot next door, it won't be in use until lights are installed. So on Fridays, the joint's busiest night, cars line nearly the entire length of Patton Avenue, a residential street in Fondren.
And it's disturbing the normally quiet neighborhood.
Now, Jackson officials say violations could cause Fondren Garage to be shut down. According to a statement, the city issued a zoning violation to Gary Clark, Matthews' partner, on June 7. They also sent a violation letter in reference to an illegal unscreened Dumpster.
When the business failed to come into compliance, the city sent a court summons to Clark on July 7 ordering the owners to appear at Jackson Environmental Court on July 12. He didn't show....
On Wednesday, Matthews opened the restaurant-bar at 10 a.m. like usual. He spent his morning answering his phone and explaining that he began his new business legally. First, he called his mama to let her know that he had not been arrested, as the media suggested he might be.
"Nobody's brought us anything," Matthews said. "I found out about it when Channel 16 showed up to do an interview with me last night."
Matthews obtained beer and retail sale permits in March. He also said he's followed proper procedure, having a multitude of inspections done on the building since October, when he first rented it.
"To me, it looks like a media firestorm created by one person who's just working on her reelection votes," Matthews said, referencing Barrett-Simon's work to close Fondren Garage.
But it appears Fondren Garage was able to obtain a permit without completing a site plan review, which is required by the city before a permit is issued. That review would have ensured that the business was in compliance with the zoning requirements.
"Everybody from the city came and inspected this building," Matthews said.
While Matthews said he is unaware of any official complaints from the city, only Clark is named on the company's filings. It's LLC registered with the secretary of state, called SHHH LLC, only includes Clark's name... Rest of article.
Add Chip Matthews to the equation posted above and the result will be anything but boring. Stay tuned.