Lawsuit about parking issues puts Calle 52 restaurant project on hold

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Plans are on hold for a new Latin restaurant at 52nd Street and College Avenue after another restaurant owner sued to overturn city approval of a parking variance.

Calle 52 had been scheduled to open late last year in the former home of a Movie Gallery store, but the owners now are waiting for resolution of a lawsuit against the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. The BZA voted in October to approve a parking plan providing for 21 on-site spaces, fewer than the 56 required under the code. The developers won approval after submitting a valet plan using off-site spaces and making adjustments to the site plan to ease parking concerns.

But the concessions did not satisfy Aristocrat Pub & Restaurant owner Rick Rising-Moore, who sued in November. In the suit, Rising-Moore called the approval “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and unsupported by substantial evidence.” He says the additional cars will hurt his business and others in the area, and create a public safety hazard.

OTB retail Calle 52, a Latin restaurant, waits to open at 52nd Street and College Avenue. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Parking has been a hot topic in part because patrons of businesses in the area have been using parking spaces in front of the vacant video-rental store without paying.

Plans for Calle 52 call for 133 indoor seats and 32 seats on a patio, and a menu featuring ceviche, queso fundido, carne asada and pastel tres leche. The owners are Nicole Harlan-Oprisu and Tim Oprisu (who also own Old Pro’s Table), Bill and Nancy Ficca and Jamie Browning (the Ficcas and Browning also own Usual Suspects in Broad Ripple).

Browning said the project has significant support from others in the neighborhood. He noted that Rising-Moore did not apply for a parking variance when he added an outdoor operation, which increased his restaurant’s capacity.


  • That's Why It's Called a Variance
    FB, the general zoning law allows for variances from the general standards set forth in the law. The general requirement for this particular lot is that there needs to be 56 parking spaces for a business of this type. A developer has a legal right to apply for an exemption from the parking requirement, which is called a variance. They have to meet certain showings as to how getting the variance will not harm the surrounding area, etc. ,etc.

    The developer applied for a variance. An administrative hearing was held, and the Board of Zoning Variances held that the developer met their required legal showing and so the variance was granted.

    This other property owner is suing and complaining about the variance. The matter goes to court, and a judge decides if the Board used its proper discretion to grant the variance. The court will generally give a presumption in favor of the Board's decision, and so the the party bringing the suit will have to prove the Board's decision was arbitrary and not based on some rational basis.
  • 21 spaces
    I don't get it? If there are only 21 parking spaces and 56 spaces are required by law. How do you get changed? That is some serious fuzzy math.

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