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City officials mull restaurant, bar rezoning plan

A plan to better distinguish the neighborhood breakfast nook from nightclubs catering to the nocturnal crowds in Rock Hill stalled Monday night, as city council voted to send the measure back to staff.

As it stands now, the City of Rock Hill considers any restaurant — from a family restaurant to a bar open to 2 a.m. — the same, but city Planning and Development Director Bill Meyer was tasked with penning rules to differentiate the difference between the two; and presented his latest version of the plan Monday.

“No one will be affected by it because everyone is grandfathered in under the current situation,” Meyer said. “It means that if a new place comes in, it will need to locate in the appropriate location under the new set of standards. It means that if one of the existing ones closes down, if it doesn’t reopen within a certain amount of time, it may have to go through some sort of zoning procedure.”

And that’s where the plan hit a snag.

City Council wasn’t comfortable with the plan on the table of leaving that period of time indefinite, while others weren’t comfortable with restricting it to six months.

“Every time we have a rezoning application the first thing that neighbors are concerned about is what can move into the area. In order to allow for low-impact restaurants to be located adjacent to neighbors convenient to people that want to patronize them we need to have some check and balance that allows them to know that a late-night type of place wouldn’t necessarily move in next door,” Meyer said.

As a compromise, council members verbally agreed to make that period one year, allowing a restaurant to reopen in the same property within 12 months without seeking additional city approval.

Council members and county staff say the compromise is a good medium between protecting the interests of business owners while protecting nearby residents who might be  affected by a new establishment.

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