published Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Council Briefs: No special permit for jazz club

by Cliff Hightower

A jazz club slated to be opened in Brainerd hit a roadblock Tuesday night when the City Council voted 6-3 to not give the club a special exceptions permit.

Jermaine Harper and Sharon Kelly, partners for the restaurant Mocha LLC on Brainerd Road, pleaded to council members that their business plan would consider the concerns of area residents.

Dozens of people crowded the City Council room both for and against the resolution.

Council members Russell Gilbert, Andraé McGary and Deborah Scott voted for approval.

McGary told council members they should consider the merits of the new club and not those of clubs before it, notably Deep Blue, a former club in the area that residents complained about for constant noise and litter problems.

But residents in the area said they did not think it an appropriate place for a drinking establishment that could be open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.


In other business, the council voted 9-0 Tuesday night to allow the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency to accept $120,000 in private donations for a study of gateways to the Moccasin Bend and Stringer’s Ridge areas.

But the resolution wasn’t without controversy.

The city agreed to add $48,500 to the grants from Benwood and Lyndhurst foundations. But some city officials did not know where the money originated. Steve Leach, administrator of the Department of Public Works, asked the council to defer the resolution a week.

“I’d like to find where the source of that money is,” Leach said. “It wasn’t in our budget that we know about.”

Dave Crockett, director of the Office of Sustainability, later told council members it came from his budget and was money left over from when the council decided not to approve hiring a public relations firm for the office about two months ago.

City officials said the Lyndhurst Foundation gave $90,000 and the Benwood Foundation gave $30,000.

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kcleigh76 said...

I live within walking distance of Mocha and welcome it to the neighborhood. I know what weekends were like when Deep Blue was open, but this new business should not be penalized for it. Mocha sounds like more of a dinner club atmosphere, while Deep Blue most definitely was not. I'm curious why the Comedy Catch is allowed to be open and serve alcohol at that hour, yet Mocha has been denied the same right?

March 30, 2011 at 7:54 p.m.
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