‘Patio pub’ coming to downtown Newnan

by Sarah Fay Campbell

alt

Rizzo

A variance for a new downtown restaurant was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Newnan Board of Zoning Appeals, but a special exception to allow vacant apartments on St. Clair Street to be remodeled was unanimously denied.

Joe Rizzo asked for a variance to allow more outdoor seating at his proposed restaurant, RPM Full Service, which will be located in the former Chevron service station on Jackson Street at Madison Street in downtown Newnan. The property was most recently the site of SMF Cycles.

Rizzo plans to have 1,836 square feet of outdoor seating at the restaurant, including a patio and a deck, and 1,146 square feet inside. The variance was needed because, under the city’s ordinances, outdoor seating areas can only be 25 percent as large as the indoor seating area.

Rizzo was on site Tuesday looking over the property with contractors. RPM Full Service will be a “patio pub.” It’s a concept seen in other areas around Atlanta, but is unique in Newnan, he said.

The restaurant will harken back to the 1960s and ‘70s in decor, and there will be some items for the car and motorcycle enthusiasts, according to Rizzo.

It won’t be a live music venue, per se, but there will be live music on occasion, he said.

He plans to serve both “American fare” including burgers and wings, as well as British pub food, such as fish and chips, as well as craft beer, wine, and cocktails. He also wants to “promote some local farm fresh items,” Rizzo said.

He’s also thinking about offering breakfast items.

Rizzo has been in the restaurant business for a long time, but this is his first time on his own as an owner/operator.

“This is a tough gig for a person starting out,” he said. But “it will be fun.”

— Among other issues before the zoning appeals board, William Keith Davidson and Lindfield Holdings had applied for a “special exception” for the property at 4 and 6 St. Clair Street.

The property contains two buildings, each with four apartments. They were built in 1987. In 2013, the property became vacant and condemnation proceedings were started by the city of Newnan. The property was foreclosed.

Apartments are no longer allowed in the city’s RU-I zoning district. Under the zoning ordinance, existing “non-conforming uses” can continue. Because it was vacant for more than six months, the St. Clair Street property lost its legal nonconforming use status, and the special exception is required for it to be used as multi-family housing.

Davidson said his company plans to extensively renovate and improve the property.

“We want to update it to the level that we can bring in young professionals,” he said. “We want to upgrade it on the outside greatly, so it is very attractive and desirable.” There will also be extensive work inside. Davidson said the budget is around $100,000 for the eight units.

“We’re going to try to make it an inviting property,” he said.

Davidson said that there were some people living in the apartments in the past year, and denied that the property had been vacant for six months. He did not present any evidence to support that assertion. He also told the board he felt that not allowing the project to go forward would be an unconstitutional taking of his property.

The Newnan City Council had previously issued a resolution to have the property repaired or demolished. In July, the council instructed city staff to demolish the buildings. A stay on the demolition was granted until the special exception was decided.

Some neighbors spoke against the request, asking that the area remain single family.

Roger Brewbaker said he started a petition against the request and got more than 105 signatures. He read some of the comments, from neighbors saying the apartments are an eyesore and need to come down.

“We’ve seen St. Clair clean up quite a bit in the past few months,” said John Anderson. “To get rid of these apartments would continue that.” Allowing them to be apartments again would be a detriment to the area.

Davidson said after the meeting he will be going to court to appeal the decision.

If he loses in court, the future use of the property is “not going to make these people happy,” he said.



More Local

Accident shuts down Hwy. 29

South Highway 29 was temporarily closed for more than 12 hours on Wednesday after a pickup truck crashed into a power line pole. The acciden ... Read More


looking back

The Emergency Room: Its use and abuse

Editor’s note: Overcrowded hospital emergency rooms, and long wait times, caused by people using the ER for things that aren’t t ... Read More


Tax-free holiday today, Saturday

It’s tax free shopping time. Georgia’s annual sales tax-free holiday for clothing, technology items and school supplies is today ... Read More


CCSS welcomes 129 new teachers

The Coweta County School System (CCSS) held a breakfast and orientation on Thursday to welcome its 129 new teachers to the school system. &l ... Read More


Visits Newnan’s Elite Dance force

TV dancer JoJo meets local fans

JoJo Siwa, a 12-year-old dancer, model and singer who has appeared on several television shows, visited Newnan Thursday to meet young dancer ... Read More

Biggest action in U.S. history

Fiat Chrysler settlement with gov't could prove costly

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler could be required to lay out hundreds of millions of dollars to get potentially defective Ram pickups and ... Read More