For several years now I have been visiting this beer emporium on King St. I bring all of my friends and family there when they visit from out of town. I go in for lunch, for dates, for late-night snacks, football on Sundays, beers with “The Gang,” and for an after-work beer. Kickback’s is a home-away-from-home. It is an Oasis of comforting food, great people, and outstanding beer. This is a business that is well-respected, run by conscientious management, and is an asset to the community. And now they need our help.
There are those who do not see the upcoming expansion plans of a successful business as complimentary to their way of life. There is a self-appointed, self-righteous, quasi-HOA trying to impose their will on a business that has been nothing but good for the neighborhood. Indeed, Kickback’s has played a pivotal role in the resurgence of the King Street corridor. Without the vision of Steve Flores and the other owners of this establishment, King Street may well have slipped into obscurity and been devoured by urban decay. Instead, it is a bustling hub of activity drawing new entertainment and dining choices for a city in dire need of both.
Please read the letter from my good friends at Kickback’s posted below. Do what you can to help them through this situation.
“Kickbacks Gastropub As many of you know, we are in the final stages of planning a new restaurant next door to Kickbacks called Goozlepipe & Guttyworks. Hundreds of you have asked how you can help and here is your chance…
The city’s planning and zoning department is overwhelmingly in support of our project and the city’s planning commission voted unanimously in October to grant us a parking deviation that we needed.
The Riverside Avondale Preservation Association (RAP) has filed an appeal of the planning commission’s decision to the Land Use Committee of the City Council (LUZ) and is attempting to make our project a political issue. They have been knocking on doors, sending emails, making phone calls, flyering the neighborhood, starting on-line petitions and engaging in an all out campaign of lies and distortion in an effort to win the support of the neighborhood and the city council. RAP wants to be the voice of the neighborhood, they want to represent YOU. We feel that RAP can have a voice…their OWN voice. They can represent themselves and their members but they aren’t the voice of the public. The public fills our seats every day and night, our neighbors come by car, foot, bike, shuttle, cab, stroller, rickshaw and skateboard.
Just so we are clear, we are building another restaurant. One that the neighborhood can be proud of, that families and people of all ages can enjoy. A new restaurant that will create 35 new jobs within the neighborhood. We are not building a strip club, night club or pool hall.
In the worst economy in any of our lifetimes, we plan to invest over $1,000,000 in a commercial corridor that most people agree was stimulated by our original investment of money, time, blood, sweat and tears over 6 years ago.
A few years ago, a “zoning overlay” was written and introduced covering most of our neighborhood. The intent of the overlay was to allow any restaurant to open in any existing contributing structure in Riverside/Avondale without having to provide ANY parking spaces. The overlay also gave a 50% parking reduction to any new construction in the neighborhood. We are tearing down a non-contributing duplex next door and building new construction. According to the overlay, we would have to provide 19 or 33 parking spaces, depending on your interpretation of the technical language within. We are providing only 8 new parking spaces, but they technically don’t count because they are in our alley. The city planners recognized that it would be physically impossible to provide this many spaces and after considering a list of mitigating circumstances, allowed the exception. If we built a parking lot instead of a new building, we could only build 8-10 parking spaces on the entire lot.
There is an increasingly long list of restaurants that are planned or have opened in the King St. district since we first proposed this project. Pele’s, Carmines will open a new restaurant in the Jackson’s space, The Garage, Dahlia’s Pour House, Alpha Dog…and more coming. That’s just in the last 9 months. What do they all have in common? None of them are new construction and therefore none of them had to provide ANY parking! RAP wants to “protect the neighborhood” from our customers but has zero concern for the cumulative effect of all the other restaurants? That makes no sense. The overlay was written such that every single building can be a restaurant, of varying sizes, and none of them need to provide any parking. RAP has no concern for the parking and traffic generated by businesses in old buildings but only wants to “protect the neighborhood” from the one business constructing a new building? They call our project “irresponsible”! They say our customers urinate in peoples yards, litter and block driveways…have any of you done that? Is it possible that these people are coming from other businesses?
Despite the fact that we were granted the parking deviation, we continue to work on providing parking solutions for our customers and for the district as a whole. We recognize that we will not succeed as a business if people can not make it to our front door safely.
What can you do to help? Plenty. We’ve resisted your offers for months out of respect for your time and the time of the LUZ. We are now asking you to let the LUZ know how you feel about our project. We want you to email them (please cc us) and call them. We want you to show up at our next public hearing on February 22nd at 5pm at City Hall. Please send us your contact information and let us know if you u can make it!
Reginald Brown- Chair RBrown@coj.net 630-1684
Ray Holt- Vice Chair Holt@coj.net 630-1380
Lori Boyer LBoyer@coj.net 630-1382
Doyle Carter firstname.lastname@example.org 630-1380
Jim Love JimLove@coj.net 630-1390
Robin Lumb RLumb@coj.net 630-1387
Don Redman Redman@coj.net 630-1394
Stephen Joost Joost@coj.net Phone: (904) 630-1396
Kickbacks Gastropub Kickbacks@comcast.net 388-9551
The subject line can be Kickbacks Gastropub/Goozlepipe & Guttyworks “Zoning Exception and Administrative Deviation E-11-54 & AD-11-58”
It can be a bit confusing, so let me be clear. If you are in support of the new restaurant, then you are against the appeal.
We have supported RAP throughout our careers, and will continue to do so, but we feel that their efforts should focus on preserving contributing buildings. Despite the fact that their support and membership have plummeted in recent years, they have a very loud voice and have focussed considerable time and financial resources on trying to stop our project.
As a small business owner in Jacksonville we are deeply disturbed by the appeal that has been filed by RAP. With the difficult economic times we all face and the existing regulations imposed by the city, the last thing we need is a glorified homeowners association telling the city how to run the city government. The planning Commission is a group of professionals that have been appointed to make these decisions. Small businesses have a hard enough time providing jobs for this great community. Please ask the LUZ to vote no on the appeal and allow the new restaurant to be built without further delay.
Please call or write with any questions. We are happy to speak with you or meet with you anytime.
Thank you so much.”
This is your rallying call! Write those letters, make those calls, and show up at City Hall on February 22 at 5:00 PM. Let’s support our local businesses instead of hampering their growth and success.
- Kickback’s Expansion Details (sprbrewcrew.wordpress.com)