I caught up with Fort Houston co-honcho Ryan Schemmel this morning, and he gave us the run-down — which you can read after the jump.
The board, from what I can gather, basically discussed how 10 years ago this wouldn’t have been an issue, but now the code needs to be updated. One guy said it reminded him of an issue with a Buddhist Temple a few years back, how they got classified as a church. And you know it's not like they have a ton of people flocking to them on a Saturday or Sunday. It's more like 10 people popping in and out here and there, but because they were a church they need all this parking, even though it wasn't really practical. They kind of drew a comparison to that.
But at the end of it, they granted us the variance. However, it is conditional only to us — if we change our business type or we move the variance doesn't stick. I'm not actually sure why they did that — it doesn't particularly affect us, and it's probably that building and everything we've come to find out about it [i.e. its zoning and codes situation].
But it's conditional, and there's a possibility that we might just have to pave two spots for the handicap parking instead of the entire lot now. That's something to follow up with on Monday. It would be really awesome, because then we could just pave right in from of the garage door and a little sidewalk to the front door and put two handicap spots there, and not worry about the rest of it.
That was the decision, and in the end they were really cool. They were like, 'Look, we think this is really unique and awesome for Nashville. This why we're on the cover of The New York Times — people like you.' They also said that they had not seen that many young people show up to a variance hearing before, nor had they received a round of applause at the end of a hearing. [Laughs] Which, all those things happened, apparently. So that's the recap.
We're putting in another exit door now and that is the end of it. As soon we get the permits — we can get temporary permits until we get everything paved — we can go ahead and start teaching classes almost ASAP, as soon as the paperwork goes through.