Residents Upset Over New Bar Proposed for Jaster Building on Route 14

Owners of the historic building at Route 14 and Pomeroy Avenue want to open "Sweet Melissa's." Nearby homeowners are concerned about the lack of parking.


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.

AnneWF November 30, 2012 at 02:02 PM
While we don't hear as much noise as our neighbors, we have a big problem with blowing garbage and employee's cars parked on Oriole Trail and those employees short-cutting through our backyard in order to get to the businesses where they work on Rt. 14. It has been an annoyance since the start of the construction on the TIF district.
Denise Majko November 30, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Whatever happened to just saying NO to their proposal!! Another bar...wonderful (sarcasm)! How about the owners proposing a business ALL residents would like to visit with reasonable closing times like 6pm?! I really feel for the residents in this area. I hope the outcome is positive for the residents!
John smite December 03, 2012 at 04:21 PM
The city of crystal lake should have planned for parking when they did the rt14 rebuild tif district. Why should honest hard working business folk be told no when this is the land of opportunity? Or at least it use to be! Go small business!!!! I'm all for it!!!!
Denise Majko December 05, 2012 at 05:45 AM
It's only the land of opportunity if there's land to park vehicles. I don't know very much about city planning but I would think an owner of business property would also have to keep in mind the availability of such amenities as parking for their business. Yes, the business may be on a busy street (Rt. 14) but they are also at the corner of a residential street. I would think that needs to be taken into consideration as well...by the city as well as by the owner of the property.
John smite December 06, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Never put thought in the fact that you purchased homes 1 or 2 blocks away from the busiest and ONLY main road through your town. Not to mention 40,000 cars use it every day. Get real people. You made your choice live with it. I for one can't wait to see what kind of business will want to be in your town if this is what is in store for the future! Good luck!


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