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Suggestions/Requests > BBQ in Fire Station 2?

Dear neighborhood folks,

Today I received an anonymous note in my mailbox informing me that a neighborhood association vote, which I was not made aware of, has formally allowed a barbeque restaurant to open within 100 feet of my primary residence, at the old firestation.

Given that neighborhood association folks have never had a problem reaching out to me when my garbage cans were in an unsightly location, or when my help was needed for a Dickens of a Dinner, I'm having a hard time understanding why there was zero communication, either in news postings here or in printed neighborhood bulletins, about a decision that directly impacts my health, my property value, and my quality of life. Further, as I spoke with my High St. neighbors this afternoon since the note was slipped in my box, the consensus seems to be that none of us were in the loop until today.

I am both deeply financially and personally invested in EDo's success in general, and Huning Highland's success in particular. I cannot fathom why, exactly, anyone would think that putting a meat smoking operation in the center of a densely populated residential area would be beneficial to anyone in the short term or the long term.

I don't know who is responsible for note in my mailbox. Whoever you are, I thank you. I have reached out both to Bonnie Anderson to gather more information, and I have relayed my concerns to Isaac Benton, our councilman. I have yet to hear back. If anyone has more information about the vote or any pending actions regarding Whole Hog moving on to my block, I would very much appreciate hearing from you.

Regards,

Mary Kathryn Karafonda
315 High St SE
April 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary Kathryn Karafonda
Sorry to hear that the vote was taken without any notice. I do believe a BBQ spot sounds good for the neighborhood but I truly don't know how it will affect your property value. My fiancé and I rent a house on Arno, so I am not concerned about property value, just in having a safe, fun and lively neighborhood. I love the smell of BBQ meat in the air, I do not think it's a fire hazard, ( unless this is the 1880's and we're still using a voluntary fire department with hand buckets full of water). For me the bottom line is that they could have turned the building into another homeless food bank, a smoke shop, a tattoo parlor, a dollar store, a liquor store, a massage parlor etc. etc. My point is, eventually this building was going to be turned into something and thank goodness it's something fun and viable to the community. It seems like all I hear from the community of Albuquerque is " There's nothing to do and this town is boring", but when small business owners , like myself , try to make this town fun and enjoyable, everyone is up in arms to shut things down, quite a conundrum. Well I'm sure this will be the talk of the neighborhood and like most things, this business will find stiff resistance to try and make things nice around hear. Oh well, we still have constant sirens, passed out homeless people, un-attentive dog owners letting their dogs bark night and day, gun shots and beggars to still keep this neighborhood lively. Cheers, Brian
April 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Orndorff
Yeah -- I agree at least in part; I'm not terribly sure where the fire hazard bit comes in.

I think it's important to note that putting a high-volume causal dining restaurant in the middle of a residential neighborhood would be somewhat of an unprecedented zoning move for ABQ. I've scanned the zoning maps for similar instances where stand-alone high-volume commercial operations are surrounded on all sides by residential, and I can't seem to find one. I'm not a city planning expert, but I suspect that this is because the needs of commercial operations are usually in conflict with the needs of residents--I want my quiet block to remain a quiet block, with plenty of parking for both myself and my tenants, without having to deal with lunch rushes, dinner rushes, and nighttime BBQ seekers, their cars, trucks, radios, and slamming doors, or their collective "aroma," as the issue has come to be known. Our BBQ friend wants customers, and lots of them, and everything that comes with them--the more the merrier. We're at cross-purposes, and naturally so.

It's a shame that the city reneged on their commitment to move branch government offices into the vacant station, and left the neighborhood holding the bag, so to speak. If proximity grants me any kind of authority, I understand fully well, maybe better than most, what the loss of the fire department meant. Those guys were great stewards of the block, and their departure was a huge loss to the neighborhood. But even with their presence, we had vacancies, junkies, homeless, police sirens, and barking dogs, and I'm not sure that anything that moves in to that space will change that. If I'm going to take one for the neighborhood team, and acquiesce to a fundamental change in the character of my property's surroundings that frankly cramps my style, I would rather it be for a something we really need, like a grocery. That said, I'm not convinced there's no doctor, lawyer, architect, dentist, accountant, financial advisor, tax firm, realtor, tech firm, or the like, that wouldn't love to have lots of space and parking in the middle of the city. This kind of low volume business would be a win/win.
April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary Kathryn Karafonda