Permit for 7 parking spaces prevents The Planet bar from opening
The months-long battle over renovations, negotiations and regulations in The Highlands.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The owner of The Planet bar in Louisville is lost in space.
Cathy Wright landed in a new venue for her bar that's four times bigger, but now it can't open. The bar owner doesn't have a building permit. "I'm never going to get open at this rate. This has been going on since October," she said.
Wright closed her bar at the corner of Alta Avenue and Bardstown Road to move a few blocks up into a property once used by Tom Drexler Plumbing.
"The frustrations of just sitting here are unreal," she said. The building needed work. The city told her to add restrooms among other changes and Wright says she poured $150,000 the into renovations.
"I just feel like I'm going through this vicious spinning circle of A doesn't know what B is telling C to do," she said.
Wright obtained permits for plumbing and electrical work, but she says the property owner built a wall splitting space for new tenants without first getting city approval. The building inspector quickly shut them down.
So after navigating that mess, the full liquor bottles still sit in storage. Why? She needs seven parking spaces.
The Planet already has 10-spots and needs seven more, as city leaders admit parking is scarce in the Highlands.
Savannah Latto lives nearby. "It is really frustrating. I mean I think the residents come first cause we were here first, but it would be nice to see it open."
Wright applied for a parking waiver and the Metro Louisville Planning staff recommended the waiver be approved. "The request is adequately justified and meets the standard of review," a December staff report said. But planning commissioners denied it saying the number of spaces requested to be waived was too much. The city had already cut the requirement from 34 to 17.
"We have been working with the owner of The Planet to get the information needed to meet all building codes then issue the permit," Spokesman Will Ford said.
There's parking one block up and one block down from The Planet bar, but there's nothing in front of the business on Bardstown Road. The hearing clinic right across the street said Wright could use their spaces at night, but the city said it was too far away.
Wright is literally knocking on doors asking for spaces. In fact, she took 1,000 signatures next door to CVS asking to use seven of its 67 spots after 5 p.m.
"I'm not getting anything. No one returns your calls. No one cares you're the little guy on the street," she said.
Wright can appeal the planning commission parking decision in court.
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