The proposed restaurant next to Steve’s Pizza Palace got the first approval it needed last week, and the second approval Tuesday night.
The Historic Preservation Commission approved the demolition of a building at 155 W. Main St. to move parking eastward, allowing Steve’s owner John Patakos to build the restaurant next to his current restaurant.
The commission didn’t take a vote on the other demolition request, at 45 S. Chestnut St., because the building isn’t in the Main Street Historic District. Patakos owns both buildings.
Then, the Platteville Common Council voted 5–1 Tuesday night to vacate part of Jones Street, where the proposed restaurant would go. The city Plan Commission recommended Common Council approval of vacating part of Jones Street while maintaining a 24-foot-wide easement for access, along with continuing existing right-of-way encroachments on Chestnut Street, Main Street and Jones Street, on a 3–2 vote Dec. 7. For more on the council meeting, read The Journal next week.
Jones Street originally extended from Main Street between Steve’s and Viewpoint Graphics south to the alley north of Hartig Drug. Most of Jones Street was abandoned by the city in 1975 when the owner of what now is the Steve’s Pizza building, Heiser Ace Hardware, planned to add onto the building. Heiser instead moved from the former Montgomery Ward building to 180 E. Main St.
Patakos purchased the building, then occupied by Discount Mattress, in 2008 and moved there from Steve’s original location, 15 E. Main St., in 2009.
Even though the Historic Preservation Commission’s responsibilities don’t include parking, the meeting included considerable discussion of parking, in addition to opinions on the first design of the building, and questions of whether the building was appropriate for the location.
The 3,200-square-foot three-story building would be 48 feet tall, two feet shorter than the city’s maximum 50-foot height requirement.
Commission member Garry Prohaska said he had some “real problems with the building … not per se with the building, but with the site. … Right now we have a real parking problem in the downtown.”
When Director of Community Development Joe Carroll said the commission had no authority over parking, Prohaska replied, “The site is part of our jurisdiction,” and that the commission had “an obligation to protect the historic fabric not of just the site but of the entire area.”
Prohaska said the “scale of this building necessitates changes in use of the entire site. … I’m not saying the building is poorly designed,” but “It’s going to add more parking needed. It’s like building a 600-bedroom dorm with 32 spaces of parking. It affects the whole area. … I really like the idea of the brewpub and stuff; I’m just not sure about the location.”
Three business owners in the area had more things to say about parking.
Jayne Stark, owner of Jayne’s Hair Care at 30 S. Court St., said she had “problems with parking off and on” now. “When the restaurant goes up, I think they have to have adequate parking,” she said. “So I don’t understand why he doesn’t have to have adequate parking [for] a new building like this.”
Patakos is proposing leasing parking from Mound City Bank.
Stark said if the new restaurant is open for lunch, “We’re going to have a problem because of all these businesses on the street. … Seniors can’t walk very far. They paid taxes in the city for years. … When he’s open at night, my customers have to walk a really long way.”
Bill McBeth, co-owner of Driftless Market, said he understood that parking wasn’t part of the commission’s responsibilities, but added “parking is going to be a problem. … Some people really have to talk about it and deal with it. Maybe not this committee.”
Eric Cleveland, who owns and lives in the State Farm Insurance building at 145 W. Main St., next to the 155 W. Main building, said that if the 155 building is torn down, “you’re taking away parking.”
“Our building was built after Viewpoint,” said Cleveland’s wife, Kris. “We will have to side our building. That will be a cost to us. … I feel if I can’t find the exact same siding, I would expect someone to side my building.”
Commission member Troy Maggied said that demolishing the Viewpoint building and leaving the Clevelands’ building without siding would leave an aesthetic problem. “Walking down Main Street and seeing unfinished spaces is an issue,” he said.