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VOL. 132 | NO. 105 | Friday, May 26, 2017

Railgarten Application Cleared by Board of Adjustment

By Patrick Lantrip

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Railgarten has the green light from Shelby County’s zoning board to reopen its outdoor features, the second approval the Midtown venue has received this week as it gets its zoning issues straightened out.

Railgarten’s permit application was approved by the Shelby County Board of Adjustment this week after being postponed for a month. (Daily News/Patrick Lantrip)

After being held at the end of last month’s meeting, Railgarten’s application for a special use permit for its outdoor entertainment and tiki bar was approved with conditions by the Shelby County Board of Adjustment Wednesday, May 24.

Code enforcement officials shut down portions of Railgarten’s complex soon after the venue opened in April, saying the owners didn’t have the necessary permits to use intermodal shipping containers in its design. The building that includes a diner, pingpong bar and ice cream parlor was allowed to remain open.

The board of adjustment’s decision came one day after the Memphis City Council held an evidentiary hearing on whether to revoke a special use permit it granted Railgarten earlier this year. That session ended with the council ultimately affirming the permit for the indoor portion of the complex, but adding some conditions of its own – including required parking agreements, limits on live music and the ability of the council to again consider revoking the permit if the venue has the noise and parking problems it experienced when it opened in early April.

The council’s action doesn’t go into effect until the minutes from Tuesday’s meeting are approved at the body’s June 6 meeting.

“Today is a big day. We worked extremely hard to tweak our operating procedures and address feedback we received from our Midtown neighbors and city officials,” Railgarten partner Michael Tauer said following Wednesday’s board of adjustment meeting. “We are pleased that the city council and board of adjustment have deemed our efforts sufficient, and that now we’re able to fully integrate Railgarten’s entertainment and eatery space into the unique area that we intended, where friends and families can unwind in the center of Midtown.”

Parking was one of the overriding issues with both governing boards, as reflected in the board of adjustment’s conditions.

“This approval is conditioned upon the applicant securing at least 100 off-site parking spaces, with the minimum term of said leases being a period of two years,” the document reads in part. It goes on to say the initial two-year leases submitted to Josh Whitehead, planning director for the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development, on May 18 account for “approximately 162 spaces.”

Nine surrounding business, including Schwartz Electric Co., Memphis Waterworks and Carwile Cleaners, all agreed to lease after-hours parking ranging from five to 58 spaces.

Additionally, if any of the leases with those businesses are terminated, Railgarten is required to enter into a lease with another property so at least 100 off-site spaces are available during operating hours after 5 p.m.

Other conditions outlined by the board of adjustment include ending live outdoor entertainment by 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and by 10:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday; fully refurbishing all landscaped areas; and screening Dumpsters from residential properties and public streets.

“We expect the final resolution to be passed with the minutes at the next City Council meeting on June 6,” Tauer said. “For the time being, Railgarten’s yard will remain closed. Our diner, pingpong bar and ice cream parlor are open for business, and we welcome our customers to join us there. We wholeheartedly appreciate everyone’s support and feedback throughout this process.”

PROPERTY SALES 83 405 4,276
MORTGAGES 104 424 4,814
BUILDING PERMITS 148 883 10,151
BANKRUPTCIES 53 264 3,149