After having previously received a variance from the Waxahachie City Council to sell alcohol, Fat Daddy’s Sports and Spirits Café received approval of its zoning amendment request from the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday.

The request was for a specific use permit within a general retail-zoning district for a restaurant/club. Fat Daddy’s will locate in the former Lights and Galore facility on North U.S. Highway 77.

“Our intent here is to take the 25,000 square foot building and build it out to 30,000 square feet. We are also going to add additional parking spaces,” company vice president of operations Jeff Taylor said. “The restaurant and private club is going to make up 14,000 square feet and the remaining 16,000 is going to be used for office space.”

Taylor said he had received comments from city director of planning Clyde Melick.

“Some of the comments that I had gotten back from Clyde and his department was concerning parking. Right now, there are 157 parking places drawn in that does not include easements. It also does not include shared parking,” he said.

In Waxahachie, restaurants are required to have a parking space for every third seat. For an office, a space is required for every 300 square feet. For Fat Daddy’s to be in compliance, 190 parking spaces will be required.

The business will add 20 spaces to a vacant lot behind Citizens National Bank and another 16 along the easement. Fat Daddy’s also will utilize 40 additional spaces in the parking lot of Citizens National Bank under an agreement with bank president Mark Singleton. However, these spaces will only be used for valet services that the restaurant/club will offer customers and will only be available for use after 4 p.m.

Commission members expressed a concern that if the business becomes too popular, spaces won’t be available for tenants renting office space in another part of the building.

“If there are three tenants that are occupying the office space and they choose to keep evening hours, will there be enough parking for both?” commissioner Anthony Mottla asked.

Melick said space at the business could become very tight and with each subsequent tenant coming in, parking will have to be addressed. Melick reflected that Fat Daddy’s could be painting itself into a corner with limited parking, which might cause customers to go elsewhere. 

Commissioner Rick Keeler said the business will attract other retail tenants because of its popularity and that, with the current configuration of only office space in the remaining 16,000 square feet, general retail will not be allowed.

“I realize that, but I have looked at this building ever since it was built. There have been six other retailers that have occupied this building. Two of them moved. The other four failed,” Taylor said. “It is our opinion that, after investigating, what was needed the most was office space. We found that office space is the most desired and there is a higher demand for it.”

Speaking against the club was resident Lee Guidro, who lives behind the proposed site and is concerned about the effect on his neighborhood. 

“I have heard that a club will be a part of this establishment and with a club comes things like alcohol consumption and people leaving the property that are under the influence,” he said. “There have been no discussions with what this is going to do to property values along Alamo Street.

“I have two small children and I wonder what the presence of a place like this is going to have on Alamo Street and how it’s going to affect it,” he said. “We know of all of the good things that it’s going to do, but what other effects is it going to have on the community?”

Commission members also expressed a concern that if the building were sold, how would it affect parking?

“When this building is sold (after Fat Daddy’s is done with it) the access agreement with Citizens Bank for parking is sold right along with it. It will run with the land. However, both parties could choose to dissolve the agreement,” Melick said.

The commission also enquired as to what landscaping would be required on the property.

“Since this building is already here and a landscaping drawing has already been approved, I put a comment on that they make sure that the landscaping that was approved is there. There are no additional requirements,” Melick said.

“The commission can require more landscaping, but it is very difficult to do that once a building is already built and has been in existence for 10 years,” he said.

The agenda item was unanimously approved.

E-mail Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com