Dayton still makes business difficult

With massive vacancies in commercial space in Dayton (a banker from out of town told me that his people thought downtown was a ghost town when looking at site selection)- the city of Dayton still does its best to make business all but impossible.

Today’s Dayton Daily had an article about businesses moving to Springboro– and yet, no one working for “Inspector Gotcha” in City Hall will acknowledge that the culture of City Hall is to say no first and often. Here is a plea to open a small neighborhood coffee shop in my neighborhood, by a neighborhood resident from his Facebook page:

…the American way…

Ghostlight Coffee needs You!

Luckily we live in America & we have opportunities to come together, to show support for one another, and make our voice heard!

It’s been in the works for a very, VERY long time. In reality, we hoped that we would be open by now, and that all of you would be stopping in, shopping for some terrific coffees and teas to share this Christmas, but alas, no….thanks to an abundance of RED TAPE.

The owners of the building which will (hopefully) be the home of Ghostlight Coffee must receive a variance from the City of Dayton Board of Zoning Appeals, in order to switch the zoning from “retail” to “restaurant.” The good news is that we have been approved for the next BZA hearing on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 28th. The bad news is, that if the building is not approved for this zoning change, the future of Ghostlight Coffee is uncertain. Therefore…Ghostlight Coffee needs YOU!

Ghostlight Coffee needs to show that our community is in support of our efforts to open a great, community-based coffeehouse on Wayne Avenue. There are two ways that we could use your help in this matter:

1. E-Mail a letter of support for the zoning change.

2. Attend the zoning appeal hearing on December 28th (if you can) and ask to speak on behalf of the efforts of the owners of the building &/or the folks at Ghostlight Coffee.

The primary issue holding this zoning change up is the fact that our on-site parking lot is just a few spaces shy of the required amount for a “restaurant” (no we will not be a full-blown restaurant, this will be a COFFEEhouse….and other incredible beverages). This is a minor technicality, due to the fact that Theobold Court (street that runs parallel with Wayne, directly behind Ghostlight’s location) has plenty of on-street parking that is rarely utilized.

If you are willing to send off an email about this issue, here are the details:

a) letters/emails should be sent to three individuals:

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

(this way we can take a hard copy to the hearings, in case the email doesn’t make it into the board packets)

If you prefer to send letters, the mailing address for both individuals is:

Department of Planning and Community Development
City of Dayton
101 W. Third Street
Dayton, OH 45402

b) The letters don’t have to be too long, but please make sure that you:

Ask that the Board of Zoning Appeals grant the requested variance for parking at 1201 Wayne Avenue, Dayton, OH 45410.

Choose a couple relevant points that you could address (choose the ones most pertinent to your position in the community or how you would anticipate in your patronage to Ghostlight Coffee or similar businesses which open on Wayne Ave.)…some suggestions:

  • the building has been vacant and blighted for years and its return to use would benefit the Historic South Park neighborhood (& surrounding neighborhoods);
  • the location is within walking/biking distance from your house/work/school, therefore you anticipate walking/biking to the business frequently (versus driving & parking);
  • this area of the city is in need of more third places, such as coffeehouses, where members of the community can meet, socialize and help to build the community;
  • the owners of the building and the operator of the proposed coffee shop are residents of Historic South Park and community leaders who are sensitive to neighborhood concerns and will be good commercial neighbors.
  • the historic district regulations prevent demolition of properties to increase parking for businesses in South Park;
  • most buildings on Wayne were built before cars existed and do not have adequate parking;
  • the area will continue to be depressed with increasing commercial vacancies if the board does not relax the parking requirements for businesses;
  • there are many unused street parking spaces on Theobald Court (and no homes on Theobald) where overflow parking can be easily accommodated;
  • returning this building to use will likely encourage other commercial development on Wayne Avenue (domino effect);
  • the success of other business leaders along Wayne Ave. (Pizza Factory, South Park Tavern, Remember When Antiques, etc.) prove that neighborhoods along the Wayne Avenue corridor desire a healthy business district;

Thanks for your support and for your anticipated letters.

Our hearing is Dec. 28th, but there may be an earlier SE Priority Board Hearing, therefore the earlier these letters of support are sent, the better for our efforts to make Ghostlight Coffee a reality!


Thank you very much!

Shane Anderson

via …the American way…Ghostlight Needs YOUR Support!.

Over 20 years ago- I faced the same hassles in opening up The Next Wave in South Park- despite the building being a former corner grocery store- and having been boarded up for 15 years. The list of grievances that Inspector Gotcha came up with were long and expensive- including the insane requirement of a sprinkler system in the basement and asking for a backflow preventer (because as a graphic design firm/ad agency- we’d be “pouring paints and inks down the drains”- apparently they’d never seen a Macintosh before).

Our permanent occupancy permit was delayed 9 months- and a city inspector once tried to tell us he’d “shut us down” if our employees parked in front of a neighbor’s house on a public street (apparently they had a private parking spot privilege according to the martinet).

Having worked with many small businesses start up over the last 20 years- I can tell you nothing has changed. Just recently Gary Staiger was telling me how it was a hassle and a half moving Omega Music into the former Gem City Records vacant location- an identical use).

Please help Shane do what’s good for Dayton- write a letter of support. It’s time to send a message to Inspector Gotcha that it’s time to start saying yes first- or at least, here’s how we can help you.

Thank you

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