Neighbors quash rock club proposal

With Starr Hill Music Hall and the Satellite Ballroom now closed, and with the opening of the Jefferson a year away, Coran Capshaw and company have been busy trying to find a temporary space for a music hall. Project manager Kirby Hutto says they thought they had found one between Reid Super-Saver Market and the railroad tracks at 608 Preston Avenue (behind the King Lumber building, pictured left), but as he learned at a recent Planning Commission meeting, folks from the 10th and Page neighborhood were not keen on the idea.

"I have to give props to the 10th and Page neighborhood," says Hutto. "We were surprised by the push-back...we hadn't anticipated we'd have that sort of visceral, over-the-top reaction."

Indeed, at least 20 residents showed up at the August 12 PC meeting (viewable on the City's website if you have 7-plus hours to spare), at which Hutto presented the proposal for the new venue, including the representatives of nearby Reid and Brown's Dry Cleaners, who vehemently opposed the project, saying they were worried about the noise, trash, and parking problems the venue would create.

"This is a community already burdened and is in a nip and tuck battle with street crime, drugs," said resident George Bates. "The trash on 10th Street is deplorable. I mean, we're talking glass, condoms."

Hutto says he was "surprised and disappointed" that no one showed up to support the proposal, considering how upset concert goers have been since the Satellite Ballroom was given the boot to make room for a CVS pharmacy. City planners said they had received emails from supporters, but the passionate, in-person pleas of the neighbors won the night.

"It became clear we would not have a favorable outcome," says Hutto, "so we deferred this request."
That appears to have been a wise move.

"I think there would have definitely been a vote against it," says PC commissioner Cheri Lewis. "With a special use permit, which is something over and above the norm, you need to do your work with the neighborhood."

So will Capshaw push ahead with this location? Search for another one?

"We'll let this simmer awhile," says Hutto, pointing out that even if the PC approved the proposal next month, they would probably miss the in-coming student cycle. "It's our business, so we wanted to find a temporary venue. Local acts like Sons of Bill and Sparky's Flaw have outgrown the small ones. We've looked at so many buildings, but there are not a lot of options."

– with additional reporting by Lisa Provence


So maybe Starr Hill Music Hall was closed a year or so too soon?

Get real. 10th and Page is BLOCKS away from this building. Who are these people kidding? They have their gangs, crime, condoms, and trash now. Should they get to veto any project anywhere? Only in Charlottesville.

Response to Music Lover; Right on!
Response to Purple; "whatthafudge?"

Purple, I hope you have plenty of condoms too...

The city missed an important opportunity to strike a deal with Capshaw for his company to pay for stepped up police enforcment in exchange for the zoning. They get proffers from developers why not this? It would have a net cleaning effect on that area.

The city council is too short sighted.