Friday, August 18, 2006

Is It A Private Club?

Since the issue of opening a restaurant/bar in the Julia Carson Government Center first arose, several people have suggested that the establishment was intended to be operated as a private club. GOP congressional candidate Eric Dickerson made this assertion this morning during an appearance on WXNT's Abdul In the Morning with guest host Matt Tully. I did not raise this in my post yesterday about the numerous building and zoning violations associated with the restaurant/bar's construction noted in the Department of Metropolitan's online permit search records. There is a notation in the activity report for the work of Keystone Construction Corp. dated June 8, 2006, which reads in part as follows:


The language "that only office employees and their guests are served" in the establishment's plan of operation has been interpreted to mean that the establishment would be operated as a private club. I would first note that this entry was made prior to the June 19 stop order issued by DMD. At the time of the June 8 entry, DMD inspectors would have discovered a newly-completed restaurant/bar that was otherwise ready for operation, except that no permits had been obtained for the construction work, and the proper zoning/variance petitions to permit this particular use of the property had not been obtained. I took this June 8 entry to be an interim understanding that the completed restaurant/bar was not going to be open to the public until the DMD had the opportunity to resolve its long list of compliance issues. If the DMD had handled the matter properly, it would have immediately issued a stop order on June 8 rather than waiting until June 19 to act. If someone has information to the contrary, please bring it to my attention.

The original Star report described the establishment as a restaurant bar. In Carl Drummer's words at that time, "It won't be a dance place." Drummer added, "It'll be a place where African-American professionals can go after work and relax and network and enjoy one another's company." It has been described in DMC petitions for zoning/variance matters as a "family restaurant." Drummer also told WTHR that the hours of operation for the establishment would be from 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

During Dickerson's appearance on Abdul In The Morning, he once again emphasized that he doesn't believe Carson is in anyway responsible for this problem. Dickerson also shared with Tully that he is selling his Buick franchise back to GM, which should be completed by the end of the month, and that he will be devoting full time to his campaign to defeat Carson. As he explained, his trademark in his advertisement is that he's always at the dealership to talk to his customers. It appears that Dickerson's franchise has become the victim of GM's consolidation efforts to improve its profitability if I understood Dickerson correctly. Ed Martin is expected to pick up Buick sales previously offered by Dickerson's dealership according to Dickerson. At one point, Dickerson lamented his lack of support from local Republicans, who he noted had time to hold a fundraiser for someone running for Congress in Maryland but not him. He made a noted exception for David Brooks, who he says has been helpful to his campaign.

Rep. Julia Carson (D) also appeared on the show this morning following Dickerson's appearance. She had very little to say on the matter, other than she was "not disposed to it." She also said she told Drummer that she thought there should have been more public input into the idea before it was pursued. Throughout the interview Carson's voice was very faint, and she was persistently coughing and audibly gasping for breath, even as she assured him her health was fine. She told Tully she was just suffering from a cold. It sounded more like the pneumonia to me, but I'm not a doctor.

Incidentally, Tully mentioned that this restaurant/bar in the Carson government center will be the focus of his Sunday column in the Star. I hope he bones up on his facts on the issue a little bit better than he sounded this morning.


Anonymous said...

I listened, too, and found Julia's voice and attention span akin to a tottering older, failing person. That made me sad. She's earned the right to rest.

Her one comment, regarding her admonition to CD to get public comment on this concept, was, to those of us who know Julia's ways, a very telling remark. She is clearly irritated that her underling has drawn this kind of criticism to her or the building.

Your observations regarding the discrepancies in this application, are serious. As for the DMD questions about a June 9 visit, and a Stop Work Order being issued over a week later: the workload at DMD is unreal. That kind of backlog will not surprise anyone who works within the system regularly.

DMD staff visits construction sites and reviews plans as often as time allows. A nine-day backlog for a Stop Work Order isn't bad. I have done zoning work in the Miami and CHicago area,s and absent a severe worker safety issue, SWOs are often this backlogged, or worse.

The only culprit who needs criticism at DMD is the hearing officer.

Sir Hailstone said...

If this goes through, how long before the Mayor gets his private bar in the City County Building?

Oh wait he probably keeps his liquor in his desk ...

Anonymous said...

Would the Stop Order have prevented the use of the facilities for any use until all other permits, variances and zoning changes had been properly processed, filed and completed.

Gary R. Welsh said...

A certificate of completion and compliance should be filed with DMD after the construction is completed and before the building is occupied or used. Here, no such certificate could be filed once the stop work order was issued, and once the GC was cited for the numerous code violations. The law clearly requires the owners to satisfy the code requirements, along with the zoning/variance issues prior to it doing business. The restaurant/bar should not be used at all until DMD was satisfied that the construction was completed in compliance with applicable building standards and procedures and the zoning/variance approvals obtained.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who's ever used the DMD permit process knows they're horribly under-staffed and overworked.

But, still, an inspector found his/her way to this building site and cited them for numerous violations, as AI has reported.

In each case of a violation, the reasons are posted on the premises and the Landlord is notified in writing.

So the trustee knew about these violations, or should've known, long ago. June.

Why then the (current) righteous indignation by the trustee?

And, whatever happens, don't let the trustee, and Amons Brown and the others who want to slide this through, turn this into a race issue. It is NOT.

Anonymous said...

We, african-americans in Center Township, will not let it become a race issue. This is ABUSE, ABUSE, ABUSE.

Amos Brown does not speak for us, he speaks for himself, Radio One, the Recorder, and the crooked black leadership in Indianapolis, PERIOD. Furthermore, he is a coward, he won't even stand up for the people in the community against crooked black politicians. Most African-Ameican's have not respect for him and dislike him. He works for the radio station and the Recorder and therefore speaks for them, not the people. He's a dinosaur, stuck in the 60's, a victimologist. But, like dinosaurs, his extinction is near...

Anonymous said...

glad to hear it, 6:07. I'm kinda tired of Amos's rants, as if he is the ONLY voice for AAs in Marion County.

He's lazy, a hate monger and from his verbal assaults on radio, it seems he believes no non-AAs can do anything productive for his community or the community in general. It's so tired and ordinary.

He rails against Abdul regularly. And Abdul has his moments, too...but he works hard by attending meetings, contacting sources, getting stories.

If Amos redirected his blather toward some of the same kind of efforts Abdul shows, he'd be a decent reporter again. He once was.

Queen916 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I drove the Julia Carson building after work. It has been almost a week since the MDC meetingand still no PERMITS on any ofhte doors leading into the restuarant / bar.

Do these people not care about the law and regulations ?

Anonymous said...

anonymous - No, they write the laws and they break them at will!

Anonymous said...

See zoning file for early permit request and approval letters. They will answer some questions and raise others.