The new owners of the Jaster building in Crystal Lake have spent months renovating and repairing the historic structure.
The two-story brick building next to Taco Bell and across from McCormick Park (with the water tower) had a crumbling facade and needed attention.
With renovations completed, the new owners, AKMG, LLC of Cary, are seeking a special use permit to open a bar in the approximately 1,100 square feet vacant space on the main floor at 414 W. Virginia St. (Route 14). Two apartment dwellings occupy the second story.
If approved, Chez Pierre Creperie restaurant, which occupies 785 square feet of tenant space in the north part of the structure, would likely become part of the establishment, proposed plans show.
Representatives for AKMG first presented plans for "Sweet Melissa's" at a special Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Nov. 19. The discussion will continue on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at city hall, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake.
Because of the location of the building, the owners need a variance from the required eight parking spaces to zero. On-street parking is permitted on Route 14 and Pomeroy Avenue.
But that's what has nearby homeowners concerned - those living on Pomeroy and Oriole Trail where properties abutt the Route 14 businesses. Some residents say they already routinely hear music pumping from some local establishments, not to mention the intercom speaker from Taco Bell's 24-hour drive-through service.
"We already have people parking on residents' lawns," said one Oriole Trail homeowner, who asked not to be named. "We have the London Pub, the Living Room and now they want another bar. There is no parking."
The building has four parking spaces for the apartment tenants and Chez Pierre's customers.
In an e-mail circulating the residential neighborhood, concerns also have been raised about an increase in noise and music level, littering, disruptive behavior by bar patrons and a decrease in property values.
According to city documents, the Jaster building is located in the Virginia Street Corridor TIF district. The TIF plan identifies the property as mixed use and recommends keeping it that way -with residential on the second floor and commercial use on the first floor.
The owner of the four-flat apartment building located at 234 Pomeroy Ave. - immediately north of the Jaster site - contacted the city and expressed concerns bar patrons would utilize all available parking on Pomeroy Ave as well as the parking spaces for the four-flat, city documents state.
"They also indicated concern about blowing trash, noise- particularly at late hours and the possibility of unruly behavior by the patrons," documents stated.
The Jaster structure was built by Joseph J. Jaster in 1914, and used as a market through 1951, city documents show. In recent years, the now vacant space was occupied by window store and a Nextel store.
Currently the space is vacant.