Planning Commission puts seal of approval on N. Suffolk library

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The new $4.7 million library planned for north Suffolk moved one step closer to reality Tuesday.

The Suffolk Planning Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit allowing the city to build the 22,000-square-foot library on Bennetts Creek Park Road.

Construction should get underway in early summer, with an opening scheduled for fall 2006, said Gerry Jones, the city’s director of capital projects.

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The library will feature the latest technology available, including wireless Internet connection, he said.

It will also house branch offices for the city treasurer and commissioner of revenue, Jones said.

That will come as good news to residents, said Commissioner William Goodman.

&uot;I think the city needs more of a presence in the northern part of the city,&uot; he said. &uot;Residents out there feel somewhat isolated. They should have access to more satellite offices.&uot;

Commissioner Ronnie Rountree questioned whether space would be available for the city assessor to have a satellite office at the site.

While that’s not in the immediate plans, users of the high-tech library could use its teleconferencing capabilities to carry on a conversation with the assessor or other city officials, Jones said.

Also on Monday, the planning commission approved a conditional use permit allowing Horace Balmer and Sherwin Turner to open Main Street Jazz Restaurant at 136 S. Main St. in late summer.

The bottom floor of the two-story club will be used as a restaurant with dining for up to 120. It will also feature a private dining room for 24 and a bar with 16 seats.

According to plans submitted to the city, the second floor will be a night club area that will feature cabaret and booth seating for 160 to 180 people, a second bar area and a 160-square-foot performance stage.

Plans also call for an exterior dining area that will seat up to 35 people.