Knuk N Futz Denied Permission to Create Patio for Outdoor Dining
Knuk N Futz has reclaimed its place as a popular dining destination in Taylor Mill and now its owner wants his customers to be able to enjoy their food outside.
Kevin Novesl started work on a patio project that would add outdoor dining to the longtime staple of Taylor Mill Road, but work was stopped after being told he needed the proper permits, something that was not sought out initially.
Now going through the appropriate channels, Novesl was denied permission for the patio by the city's board of adjustments on Thursday. The board voted unanimously, 5-0, to uphold the recommendation of the Taylor Mill zoning administrator to deny the plans.
There were two issues at play in Knuk N Futz's proposal: did the patio constitute an expansion of a business that is already operating as a non-conforming use in a residential district and would the proposed patio be too close to busy Taylor Mill Road?
The restaurant was already in operation when the city's most recent zoning code was adopted but any expansion of it would require permission from the board of adjustments.
Novesl argued Thursday that his grandfathered business was not expanding, rather he was simply utilizing more of the property.
"We agree that it's a very good thing for a community like this to keep most of the commercial businesses in one area and to keep its residential feel and its rural feel. That's what drew me here. That's why I sunk every dollar, sweat, and tear into that place," Novesl told the board. "I'm expanding nothing. I'm simply utilizing my property in its entirety. The county and city both tax me commercially in a residential zone on the entire piece of property."
Members of the board acknowledged that they enjoyed the restaurant and that they could appreciate the argument, but the zoning code specifically references "structure". "No non-conforming use or structure may be enlarged or extended beyond its area of use at the time it becomes a legal non-conforming use, unless and until the use is brought into conformance with all provisions of this ordinance," the city's zoning code reads.
"It bothers me to say it but I do think it is an expansion of the use of the structure," said John Lucas, chairman of the board of adjustments. "I just don't agree that the structure is the whole area. I like the approach but at the end of the day, I think legally it's going to run into this footprint element that you're expanding that footprint."
"I don't think anybody's denying that what you want to do is a good idea but I think I'm in agreement that it is a structure," said Todd Fuller, a member of the board of adjustments. "It was the intention of what the verbiage or the writing is saying."
"I love the place and I like Kevin (Novesl)'s argument," board member Richard Meyer said, "but I don't know that I agree with that. I think the structure is the building or any other structure on that property. I like the outdoor seating. I'd love to see it. For us to be the ones up here, the law's pretty clear. To change it, I don't think we can."
The zoning code was not the only obstacle Novesl faced. Residents of Janet Drive, across the street from the restaurant, spoke against the idea of outdoor dining because of noise.
"My mother-in-law lives right across the street. It does exist, especially since the smoking ban went into effect" said Patrick Haney, referencing the noise. Everybody goes outside to smoke. After they've had a couple drinks it does get a little loud."