There was no showdown over the River Oaks Shopping Center variance request at yesterday’s Planning Commission hearing. In talks prior to the meeting, Weingarten Realty used its mad skillz to assuage the most vocal neighbors with a few minor changes to the patio-topped porte-cochere facing Shepherd Drive — already under construction — that violated the setback:
. . . reduce the size of the balcony seating and enclose the seating area. That will result in a 30-inch encroachment into the area of the 25-foot setback.
Lower the 10-inch signage on the west side of the building facing Shepherd Drive.
Will remove external LED lights on the west side of the building and turn off flashing security box lights inside the parking garage.
Variance . . . granted! The screencapture above shows the revised, enclosed balcony shown at the hearing, which will be a part of Tony and Jeff Vallone’s new Il Tavolo restaurant and wine bar.
Weingarten knows how to keep more than just a noisy upstairs wine-bar quiet, notes abc13’s Miya Shay:
Homeowners along this stretch of Brentwood [in back of the center] haven’t been able to say anything because they signed an agreement with Weingarten to keep silent. So they can’t complain even though they live directly behind the new parking garage.
Isolate your critics! It works:
Despite the anger of some neighbors, Weingarten at the end of the day got what it wanted: It got the variance. It doesn’t have to tear down the structure that initially was against city code. And it still has the support of several council members, many of whom have received campaign donations from some of the management at Weingarten.
- Weingarten makes changes, gets variance [River Oaks Examiner]
- Restaurant Fight in River Oaks [abc13]
- Planning Commission Hearing, January 8, 2009 (see item 57) [HTV]
- The New River Oaks Shopping Center: Did Weingarten Step Over the Line? [Swamplot]
- River Oaks Shopping Center Replacement: Vallone at the Top [Swamplot]
- River Oaks Shopping Center Redo: Not Much of a Curve, but a Decent Wedge [Swamplot]
Screen capture: HTV