Entertainment OK’d for club

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Seventh City Restaurant and Sports Lounge is one step closer to offering live entertainment.

Despite some opposition, the Suffolk Planning Commission on Tuesday voted 7-6 to recommend to city council that the newly opened sports bar at White Marsh Plaza be allowed to feature live entertainment. The recommendation will go before the Suffolk City Council next month.

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Quinton Barnes, a Suffolk native and former professional football player who opened the restaurant and sports bar in October, told the planning commission that he believes offering entertainment is vital to his business’ success.

Barnes said he would like to offer karaoke nights or feature a jazz band with Sunday brunch.

&uot;The ability to compete in the market with my competitors is paramount,&uot; he said. &uot;Without the conditional use permit, it will be difficult to compete with my counterparts on a level playing field.&uot;

The only speaker who opposed the proposal, nearby resident Evangeline Mercer, told commissioners that she believes the club is negatively impacting her neighborhood.

&uot;Over the last couple of months, there have been altercations at the place,&uot; she said. &uot;I’m sorry this business is in the neighborhood because it brings down the community.&uot;

A shooting occurred outside the Seventh City early Christmas Day. That incident is the only time police have been called to the club, said Lt. Debbie George, spokeswoman for the Suffolk Police Department.

After his recommendation to deny Barnes’ request failed, Commissioner William Goodman recommended delaying the vote for 60 days. Although they did not appear for the public hearing, Goodman said he has received calls from residents concerned about safety and noise issues.

But Commissioner James A. Shirley disagreed, saying he felt planners owed Barnes an answer. He said commissioners aren’t able to judge potential negative impacts of live entertainment.

&uot;I think we owe him an up and down vote today,&uot; Shirley said. &uot;It sounds like the doors will be locked in three months (if we don’t approve this).&uot;

The planning commission also:

-Unanimously approved rezoning 22.3 acres of property off Bridge Road, near Temple Beth El, to allow for construction of a 136-unit apartment complex for senior citizens. The three-story complex will include an exercise room, library, laundry facilities and adjacent office space.

-Voted 12-1 to rezone 61 acres at the intersection of Shoulders Hill and Bridge roads for a Traditional Neighborhood Development, a first for Suffolk. Developers are planning to build Bennett’s Creek Square, a development that will feature a town square business district, a performing arts center; 118 row houses (duplexes, quadruplexes and townhouses); and 51 single-family homes.

-Approved an exception request allowing James and Marla Schaubach, whose Crittenden Road residence abuts Chuckatuck Creek, to build an in-ground swimming pool.

Although the pool will encroach upon the 100 foot buffer required under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, Schaubach will agreed to proffers, including closing in an existing pool near the waterfront and building detention pond that will collect agricultural runoff

now going into the creek.