Fire doused on Slab ‘N Pickle controversy at Ranchmart North

The long winding case of the Slab N’ Pickle barbecue restaurant in the Ranchmart North shopping center is headed for a conclusion that is acceptable to the neighbors, but will be without a Slab N’ Pickle. The development is north of 95th Street and east of Mission Road.

The controversy over the planned restaurant has been unfolding for most of 2012. The original proposal was for the old post office building in the far east edge of the development to be turned into a barbecue restaurant. That brought protests from the neighbors to the east because the property has only a 50-foot setback from the adjacent homes.

The compromise, worked out between the neighbors and the owners of the property, calls for the creation of a new zoning designation – Planned Neighborhood Retail 2 – that will be applied to the old post office property. The new zoning designation does not allow for restaurants.

The plan commission originally recommended a denial of the Slab N’ Pickle application in January. The city council in June continued the application. During the controversy it was discovered that the Ranchmart North property had never been formally zoned. In May most of the retail area was zoned to Planned General Retail, but a decision on zoning for the post office building was sent back for the planning commission to reconsider.

The new zoning designation will not allow bars or restaurants. “After what we have been through with the old post office, we are in favor of this. We are looking for a low impact set of uses (for the building),” said Seth Berry, speaking for the neighbors. The property owner’s attorney also spoke in favor of both the new zoning designation and applying the designation to the post office building.

Berry said the neighbors had worked with the owners during the multiple delays of official action to come up with the zoning specifications and with a list of stipulations that will apply to the building. Those stipulations include restrictions on business hours, delivery hours and what types of food sales could occur. The owners also pledged new landscaping on the east side when a tenant is secured. Currently, there is no tenant for the building now that the restaurant plan has been scrapped.

Berry said a clothing store or insurance agent would be examples of the kind of low impact tenants the neighborhood would welcome.

The planning commission approved both actions – creating a new zoning designation and applying it to the building. Both will go before the council.