Despite neighborhood concerns against the proposed bar, Little Woodrow's received approval Jan. 30 for its conditional use permit and parking waiver after a 4–3 Austin City Council vote.
"We've been working on this project for almost two years now," Little Woodrow's co-owner Rick Engel said. "We are very very excited about this particular location."
The permit and the waiver were denied at the Planning Commission meeting Dec. 10 because a quorum of votes could not be reached to either approve or deny the application. Because no action was taken, the item was denied. The permit and waiver came before council as an appeal, with council members Laura Morrison, Chris Riley and Kathie Tovo voting against the measure.
"I just really believe that we've not gotten to the place where we can feel comfortable that it's not going to more adversely affect an adjoining site than would a permitted use," Morrison said.
A conditional use permit may only be granted if the proposed plan does not adversely affect an adjoining site more than if a permitted use were allowed on the property.
The plan is for a Little Woodrow's bar and a restaurant called Brooklyn Pie at 5425 Burnet Road.
Some of the conditions for the approval include prohibiting all live outdoor music, limiting decibel levels, restricting noise-generating events to the bar or the bar's deck and requiring a closing time on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays of 1 a.m.
Neighborhood residents spoke against the proposed development during the meeting, citing concerns over the limited amount of parking at the proposed businesses and late-night hours.
"I think you need to look at the uniqueness of the neighborhood, the proximity of the homes, the lack of available parking and lack of a turn lane on Burnet Road," said David Mintz, president of the Allandale Neighborhood Association. "All of these things are conditions that make us wary of the idea of having a late-night bar operating in the area."
Other neighbors told Austin City Council of questionable dealings by the bar and property owner regarding the marketing of other buildings onsite and the lack of overall communication with neighborhood associations.
"This is not about Little Woodrow's. This is not about the bar," said Dale Henry, president of the Brentwood Neighborhood Association. "It's about this location. This piece of property is wrong for a bar. This piece of property is wrong for a late-night establishment."
To help ease parking concerns, Engel offered to secure extra parking—up to a total of 52 spaces—within 500 feet of the proposed bar if neighborhood parking becomes an issue. The bar is only required to have 31 spaces but the bar and restaurant have a total capacity of approximately 103 people.