Here’s the variance sign (at right) that went up over the weekend at the intersection of Gramercy St. and Kilmarnock Dr., backing up to the power-line easement and ditch that separates the city of Bellaire (beyond the sign) from Houston. Supra Color Enterprises, the Florida-based landlord of the Black-eyed Pea restaurant at 4211 Bellaire Blvd. (above), is requesting a variance from the city as part of an effort to redefine its 1.8-acre property at that address as an “unrestricted reserve.” The variance application doesn’t reveal Supra Color’s plans for the land, but it does refer to a “proposed multifamily development” on the site.
A new apartment building planned for Bellaire Blvd. on the Black-eyed Pea site might help explain some of the various rumors passed back and forth among the property’s neighbors over the last few weeks and months: That the Black-eyed Pea site has been sold; that some sort of “multi-use commercial structure” is planned for the site; or that the sale or development plan also includes the adjacent Uzi’s Autohaus, Palace Bowling Lanes, and even the Blair House Apartments snuggled up only a gas station away from the corner of Bellaire and Academy St., in Southside Place.
And then there’s the version of the rumor that involves a new Trader Joe’s taking over the Palace Lanes spot.
The variance application names the development Crain 25, but it doesn’t exactly indicate the scope of what’s planned. The application asks the city not to force Supra Color to extend Kilmarnock Dr. (pictured above, looking north) through its property to Bellaire Blvd., which the city’s development regulations would otherwise require.
Residents of Gramercy St., which runs parallel to Bellaire Blvd., to the south, might not want an adjacent road connecting to the busy thoroughfare either. (One resident, just to the right of the photo above looking west along Gramercy St., is using what might otherwise become a new branch of Kilmarnock as a yard, according to the application. An extension of Kilmarnock would continue through that yard and cut through the west side of the Black-eyed Pea property).
But the reasoning of Ayrshire residents might differ a bit from that of the would-be developers, who complain that a required 60-ft. right-of-way would eat up approximately one-third of their property (colored red in the variance-application map below), and “would not allow reasonable use of the land.” Presumably, that means it would also put up major obstacles to whatever development the company is planning.
What is it planning? Here’s as good an explanation as the variance application provides:
Constructing Kilmarnock Drive from Ayrshire Addition north to Bellaire Boulevard would not provide accessibility benefits to this area. It would however provide a connection with the proposed multifamily development and existing commercial establishments with the residents of the adjacent community. This would create an undesirable situation for the residents in the adjacent neighborhood by likely increasing traffic flow, and would not be in the best interest of the public.