Concerned that their decision might cause future parking problems in the area, the North Riverside Zoning Board of Appeals on May 5 turned down a plan by the owner of a 26th Street grocery store building to construct a 5,000-square-foot second-story addition.

Ricardo Martinez, who picked up the property at 7918 26th St. in September 2009, planned to add a second-floor office space on top of the grocery store space, which currently houses Cozzi Closeouts.

The building was to be decidedly contemporary looking, using such materials as wood rainscreen siding and corrugated metal panels, and was to be built using sustainable design practices.

And while village officials liked the design, they and residential neighbors expressed concern about granting a zoning variance that could, in the future, allow dozens of employees to work there.

“Under the code, in 5,000 square feet of office space, you can put 50 people in there,” said Village Administrator Guy Belmonte. “If this guy moves out and another moves in, they can without a variance put 50 people in there.”

The property has a surface parking lot that can accommodate 16 vehicles.

“The concept, the building looked gorgeous,” Belmonte said. “Hopefully, he’ll still remodel the building. It’d be a big improvement for that corner.”

Belmonte said the door is still open for Martinez to scale back his plan.

Martinez said that only five employees would work in the second-story office space. He said that this week he is meeting with the owner of Chef Shangri-La restaurant at the corner of 26th Street and Desplaines Avenue to see if the two businesses can work out a parking sharing agreement.

Martinez said that he may also consider reducing the size of the addition and coming back to the village with a new proposal.

Village Pub addition gets OK

Meanwhile, on May 5, the Zoning Board of Appeals and Plan Commission gave their blessing to a plan for an addition at Tipster’s Village Pub, 8839 Cermak Road. The recommendation, which needs approval from the village board, calls for a 41-by-18-foot party room and a 27-by-18-foot outdoor dining area to be built on the west side of the building.

The addition would be built on land belonging to an adjacent property. Village Pub’s owners own both parcels of land. The plan will require parcels to be re-platted in order to make the arrangement work from a property standpoint.

-Bob Uphues