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Northville Residents Express Concern About Garage Restaurant

At Monday's city council meeting, resident complaints centered around patrons' vehicles packing residential streets.

The new restaurant Garage Grill & Fuel Bar opened last week in downtown Northville to high fanfare, but some residents are worried that the influx of people to that part of downtown Northville is creating traffic hazards in the residential areas. 

"There are 14 parking spaces for a restaurant that has seating for more than 200 people," said Mary Beth Widak at Northville City Council's meeting Monday.

She said her home's driveway is on High Street where many of the restaurant's patrons have been parking. When vehicles park on both sides of the streets, she said, they become so narrow that only one vehicle can pass at a time.

Widak also said the added traffic is bringing speeding drivers down the residential streets.

"We bought homes in residential areas," she said to city council. "Please don't forget us residents."

Joe Boelter also said the area was becoming a traffic hazard. He said he brought up the possibility of parking problems to city council when the restaurant sought its zoning change. 

"The parking has been packed from 5 o'clock I assume until midnight," Boelter said, which makes it difficult for residents to exit their driveways.

Boelter said the restaurant also promised it would install state-of-the-art odor control equipment. However, he said he has been smelling a strong grease and oil odor emanating from the restaurant. He said he is glad to see the business thriving but thinks these are issues that need to be fixed.

After listening to the residents' comments, Mayor Chris Johnson said, "I'll make sure the DDA and parking committee reexamine all of the issues that have come up."

Terri December 04, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Really? The restaurant is in downtown and so are the people that live on High Street. If you would like a quiet street move out on Main Street past Clement you live in the downtown area of Northville. I love that the streets are filled with people and the cars that they use to get to town! Thanks to the owner of The Garage for having the courage to make our city and even better place to live. I live on Randolph, talk about a busy street! Bring it on!
Carol Maynard December 04, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I agree with Terri totally.... Northville needs to welcome People and businesses to the downtown area! .... Like Plymouth does.... or it will become a ghost town with a bunch of empty businesses ...
Joe Boelter December 04, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Terri, The restaurant is not "in Downtown". This was a special use zoning change that created the problem. We love Downtown and moved close for the proximity. We never imagined a change to commercial use in the residential neighborhood. Maybe we can send all the parked cars to the front of your house and street and you can have your residential area turned into a commercial parking lot.
Rachael December 04, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Totally agree! I live on Clement and have people speeding and using it as a pass thru for Beck so if the complainers of the business wanna switch for a day I'd be more than happy to, but I bet they'll be wanting their traffic back. Suck it up and deal with it. I love walking in town seeing more business in this economy. You bought the house next to businesses so deal with it or move
johnj December 04, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I completely 2nd Terri’s response. If residents don’t like living downtown MOVE. We are also right downtown and this is so refreshing and exciting!!! BIG THANK YOU Garage for bringing life to downtown. I hope many other night options follow and further energize our great city which has SO MUCH potential. Garage, Thank you for the amazing addition to the city. You did a wonderful job with this project and we support you. Cheers
johnj December 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Carol M. also makes a great point. You want to attract young professionals – We need this energy… The city has to change its ghost town (night) image and reinvigorate.
Terri December 04, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Check the map of the boundaries of the DDA John, you are in the downtown area. Send them over to my street, wait they already drive down my street to park on your street. Give them a chance they just opened!
johnj December 04, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Terrri, I think that was aimed at joe not me... :) here is the map where Garage falls into DDA target territory. http://www.downtownnorthville.com/1/163/files/NorthvilleWalkingMap2.pdf
Sandy Hughes O'Brien December 04, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Our law practice is right across High Street from the Garage and we are thrilled it's opened. It's so refreshing to look out our windows and see that refurbished building and the beautiful landscaping! Cut 'em a little slack, the parking situation will fix itself as more folks realize where the nearest parking lots are located.
John December 04, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Its great to have a new business in Northville and we are fortunate to live and work in a place where others want to come and enjoy.
Blair Borgia December 04, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Complaints such as these are very likely the reason why Downtown Northville has an obvious development problem. It has been stated serveral times in this comment thread, but bears repeating. If you don't want cars, a little noise and parking issues, move into one of the many subdivisions in Northville. You want to concern yourself with a real issue? Come to my home and watch people blow through stop signs at 35 mph on Baseline.
Terri December 04, 2012 at 03:28 PM
sorry john i meant joe:)
NRF December 04, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Champagne problems... Be thankful that businesses are opening rather thank closing. Don't be ridiculous.
Joe Boelter December 04, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Many of you miss the point. First we love the job the Evasics did on the restaurant and replacing a run down looking struture with the renovations. NO BEEF with that. None of you, to my knowledge, attended all the hearings on rezoning the property for SPECIAL USE-NON-Conforming to the existing zoning when we bought our property. We (the surrounding neighbors) did extensive work on traffic and parking studies. Only a town desperate for more tax dollars would have approved a project for a restaurant with seating for 240 people with a parking lot for 15 cars. Our studies pointed out this problem during the hearings. We were politely listened to but the Council chose to ignore facts. The DDA Parking Committee pushed it off until "there is a problem". Well, "Houston we have a problem. Don't tell us to suck it up. We bought a house in a RESIDENTIAL AREA that has become a commercial parking lot. We have already had many buyers for our home walk away and not make offers even before the Garage was opened. We'll probably have to get our property rezoned to commercial to sell it. See how the creep of commercial into residential sets with you all.
Ceil Michalik December 04, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Let's appreciate the fact that people are spending money in Northville, and offering jobs. I am sure downtown Detroit would love this kind of activity.
revitalize December 04, 2012 at 08:50 PM
The property was zoned commercial prior to the garage. Its classification was General Commercial District. It has been a commercial use for a hundred years.
johnj December 04, 2012 at 09:01 PM
If the Garage brings 240 people to downtown Northville every night ~ I think we should all be celebrating… I am around the corner and welcome the traffic/city interest. :)
David December 04, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Maybe we should have them convert it back to a gas station. Would the smell of gas and the traffic flow from that be better for you guys. David
Deb December 04, 2012 at 11:31 PM
We attended the hearings. We're ecstatic that the Evasics invested in downtown Northville. We purchased our home many years ago knowing it was "downtown" and embrace all that comes with the territory. I saw the Channel 4 news....the Boelters do not speak for all of us.
Tracey Fors Wormsbacher December 05, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Hmm... I wonder if the residents of Plymouth feel the same about cars parking on their streets? My guess is that that they understand that without the parked cars there would be more vacancies, empty buildings and struggling small business owners! Thank you to the Evasics for seeing a vision to help the community grow. Would you rather see the vacant building? Give them a minute to adjust for God sake!
Julie December 05, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Asking the city to change the parking in the residential area that has been affected by the increased conjestion is not anti-development Creating a safer environment for the young children and teenage drivers who live on the street is prudent and will not harm the Garage's business in anyway.
johnj December 05, 2012 at 02:31 PM
This is an inevitable outcome of the city growing. I understand your concern but would also suggest don’t live so close to a downtown if that’s the way you feel. This will get worse for you as more and more businesses come here seeing the great potential we offer. Many of us enjoy this energy and growth – and it is why we moved so close.
Miriam December 05, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Well...that restaurant isn't new.... I've eaten there before, under different name and manager...... Kinda reminds me of where I work. I work at a campground that has been there since 1941! houses got built around it in the 60"s & 70's. I don't know if the family moved, but every single year, we would get a call telling us we needed to quiet down. Granted it was 7:30 pm when the hayrides would go through the camp and the kids would be singing, laughing, having hay fights, enjoying life, but this one lady would call madder than a hornet every single year. She bought the house knowing there was a Youth Camp ground... right beside her.... HELLO!"
revitalize December 05, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Miriam, you may be thinking of Bricks (or NoMi) that is located in Northville Square. The Garage is a new restaurant in town. The building is the former home to Gardenviews. They occupied the building for the previous 15 years.
Aysha Jamali (Editor) December 05, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Do you think the DDA should reevaluate the property and try to come up with solutions for any parking problems?

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