What it takes to open a small dive in Dayton

Before posting this- I checked in with Kim at Olive, and with Urban Dive- the restaurant-to-be at the corner of Wayne and E. Third Street in the old Wympee building.

This building has been a restaurant since 1936- and, only because it was closed, was the city able to start changing the rules. Had a new owner come in and done things incrementally- almost all of this would be irrelevant. No handicapped bathroom- no occupancy changes- etc. It’s called the “Grandfather Clause”- and it is like Santa Claus if you don’t want to change a thing.

This is how buildings die from bureaucracy- unless a champion comes along and is willing to fight the lions:

**UPDATE: well… just got a call! Our occupancy is now at 25, appealing for 49 (instead of appealing 15 for 49 and we have been assured we will receive support from Building Services for our full original occupancy. You all rock!!! 4:13pm Jan. 7, 2011 (less than 24 hours from first post, we have progress!!!)

7:30pm January 6, 2011

Olive finally has the permits released to let our contractors loose!!! Yea!!

This is where we need your show of support. We have a hearing on January 12th at 8:30 a.m. to determine our occupancy.

Here’s the lowdown:

* Wympee’s had a Mercantile Designation since 1938 allowing up to 50 people in the building

* Building Services changed our designated to a B2 Use last month without a request to do so

* Wympee’s has never had a public restroom, only one tiny employee toilet room accessible from the kitchen

* Building Services required us to submit drawings with two (2) handicap restrooms to release our building permits to keep an occupancy of 49 (we say 49 because that is the highest occupancy you can have without a sprinkler system)

we at this point argued that the 800 sq. ft. building would be unviable as a business in losing that much square footage, both in kitchen equipment and guest seating loss. We had to remove the existing furnace and will need to spend $6-8,000 replacing the unit with a rooftop system just to make space for one, unisex, handicap accessible restroom. The code allows for one, unisex, with a Mercantile Designation up to 50 people. (which is what we had when we started).

* Building Services accepted our drawing with one unisex, handicap restroom, but has lowered our occupancy to 15 people including staff. We have received our Building Permits to begin construction, but we cannot survive on an occupancy of 15.

* When we submitted our drawings, we asked Building Services if they would contest our request for a hearing for an occupancy of 49. They said they would not.

we proceeded on faith and continued our demo work, knowing that we would have a chance to appeal and be granted back our original occupancy

* This week we were told that Building Services staff were considering suggesting a maximum occupancy of 25 to our hearing appeals board.

this was most unexpected.

So now that you’re up to date… we would like to collect letters of support that show that you, our future guests, support an occupancy of 49 with one unisex, handicap restroom so that we can have on a busy, summer Saturday:

*30 seats inside including counter seating (30) *the original Wympee had 35 stools*

*up to 2 servers, 2 cooks and 1 prep person onsite for busy shifts (35)

*4-5 people standing in line at the take out and ice cream counter (40)

*people walking through the building to the patio or waiting for a table (45)

(note patio seating does not affect the occupancy rate of the building)

Please address your letters as follows:

Board of Building Appeals

City of Dayton

371 West Second Street

Dayton, Ohio 45402

BBA Case No: 11-30-Da

Premises:

416 East Third Street

Dayton, Ohio 45402

Described as: Olive Diner

To the Board of Building Appeals:

your words of support, feel free to copy the occupancy scenario above to prove that a minimum occupancy of 35 is needed for our success, but based on our original occupancy, 49 is not unreasonable and that 25 is absolutely not enough when staff and walk ins for take out are brought into the equation. Not to mention that 15-25 will keep us from opening our doors.

please be respectful and positive, but also reiterate that: the success of our business is dependent on their decision.

You can send your letter one of two ways:

1. as a general e-mail or as a .pdf attachment to [email protected], we will print out your letter and take it with us

2. a letter sent to the address above (just please also e-mail it to us, and let us know it was sent, so we have a copy)

Thank you all so much for the support you’ve already shown and for any effort you can offer with this. Feel free to forward links to our fan page (to your personal contact lists) and raise our fan count (which is already higher than we could have hoped for at this stage!). We plan to use our success here on Facebook as a small promise of our possible success later!

Sincerely,

All of us at Olive

Thank you to everyone who has responded with a letter of support so far!!!!!

Denny Zappin

David Koenig

Scott Waltner

David Lauri

Emily Upperman

Amy Forsthoefel

Ed Rosenberger

Deborah Wallis

Caren Earick

Matthew Siske

Michelle Hammond

Patrick Sage

Karl Williamson

Theresa Gasper

Gretchen Henrich

Julie Westwood

Valerie Hunt Beerbower

Bryan Hunter

Bob Wolfe

Rick Haverland

Cynthia Parsons

Karri O’Reilly

Matthew Lindsay

Rebecca Johnson

Tiffany Whitten

Hillary Ross

Leslie Marsh

Rachel Wolery

Sandy & Michael Bashaw

Tony Barnes

Kelly Testerman

Ken Neufield

Christine Roy

Beth Engelhardt

Sandy Simmons

Karin Manovich

Kathleen Gish

Diane Haverland

Marguerite Merz

Taryn Ward

Sarah Muench

Carmen Osenbaugh

Norm Lewis

Kay Lewis

Wendy Rousseau

Jean Collett

via Appeal for letters and e-mails of support! Okay everybody, it’s time! (1).

We can either keep losing to the suburbs- with their nice sterile white boxes- or we can start making adjustments to codes and regulations It’s time to take another look at the “grandfather clause” and make it more transportable- transparent- and even-handed in its application.

Or- we can continue to let “Inspector Gotcha” get-ya.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!