Neighbors at Thursday’s Frankford Neighborhood Advisory Committee voted against a proposal to open up a restaurant near Arrott Transportation Center.
The main concern was that the property, located at Griscom and Arrott streets, would become a hangout for drug dealers in a neighborhood that has been tormented by violence.
“We have experienced disaster upon disaster in that area,” one woman said. “We have seen too many shootings.”
The owners of 1520-22 Arrott St. have filed a zoning application to operate a restaurant on the ground floor with two apartment units above. Their attorney, Zhen Jin, said they are looking to open a small breakfast and lunch spot that would close by 7 p.m. and not sell alcohol.
Jin said it would be more of a takeout restaurant with counter seating for about 11 customers.
Currently, the property is zoned residential, but Jin said turning the building into a single-family home would be too costly given its configuration. It has operated as a restaurant as far back as the 1950s, he said.
NAC Coordinator Christine DeJesus said the property had been a nuisance bar, and a previous owner had even tried turning it into a strip club. It is now vacant.
Jin said the restaurant would have cameras and improved lighting. A man who identified himself as a friend of the owner promised he would personally ensure the location didn’t become a hangout, but he was vague on how he would go about it.
Neighbors from Griscom Street weren’t convinced. They also worried the restaurant would lead to parking problems since the property does not have off-street spots.
Ultimately, the vote was 4-0 against the proposal. Only neighbors who live within the two-block area of the property are allowed to cast a ballot on zoning applications at NAC meetings. The Zoning Board of Adjustment is scheduled to hear the case on July 18. ••