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The Victoria City Council’s unanimous decision to spend $182k plus labor costs to build parking lots in Riverside Park conveniently located adjacent to the upcoming Pumphouse Riverside Restaurant & Bar has drawn fire from Advocate commenters. I think this issue deserves a closer look to see if these negative comments should be so easily dismissed as empty complaints.

I submit the following (possibly unrelated) facts to consider before forming a conclusion:

  1. Dennis & Louise Hull Patillo purchased the old pumphouse property from the City of Victoria with the intentions of developing it into a privately-owned restaurant. (source)
  2. Louise Hull Patillo is a sitting member of two public bodies, the Sales Tax Development Board and the Planning Commission. She is also president of the Main Street Project.
  3. Dennis Patillo is the past Chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors whose political interests are promoted by TREPAC. (source)
  4. “Louise has served in several capacities at the Texas Association of REALTORS, including Regional Vice-President and TREPAC Trustee and Secretary/Treasurer.” (source)
  5. Tom Halepaska & Will Armstrong received $2,500 & $1,000 in campaign contributions from TREPAC on 4/15/2010 & 4/22/2010, respectively. (sources: $2,500, $1,000)
  6. Tom Halepaska spearheaded the parking initiative. At the November 2nd City Council meeting, Tom said, “There’s many groups down there. The paddling trail people do their runs on Thursday and Sunday, they take up quite a bit of parking. I’ve got a few photographs of that. The restaurant owner would have no parking if that were the case… We now have an opportunity to have a parking lot built down there and have a private individual partner in with us we can get it on the cheap, so to speak, or inexpensively with part of being paid by a private individual… [later adding] Barring that, we’d have to look into perhaps leasing that land to the gentleman for the parking lot, but then he’d total absolute control over it.”
  7. Sec. 21-83.(b)(1) Development guidelines—Commercial: Off-street parking, loading and access. All commercial uses shall contain adequate space on private property to provide for parking, loading, and maneuvering of vehicles in accordance with the regulations established in Sections 21-92 through 21-100 of this chapter.
  8. Sec. 21-91. Site plan. (a) Generally. Until a site plan meeting the requirements of this section is reviewed and approved, no building permit or off-street parking facility permit shall be issued for any of the following: (1) Any new commercial… development. (b) Site plan requirements. (1) A general plan, which shall include the following information: e. Information and calculations necessary to verify compliance with the off-street parking and loading regulations, including land use, gross floor area, gross leasable area, number of dwelling units, seating capacity, projected number of employees and/or any other appropriate data.
  9. Sec. 21-92. sets off-street parking requirements for a restaurant at one parking spot per three seats. Seating and parking capacity for the Pumphouse Restaurant are unknown.
  10. The closest parking spot in the approved parking lot is nearly 1/8 mile from the zoo entrance and over 1/4 mile from the first tee box of the disc golf course, which was another benefit cited by Halepaska.

Questions:

  1. Did/does the Pumphouse Restaurant site plan include enough parking on private property to merit issuance of a building permit? Is the city bailing them out with “Joint Parking Facilities” status, as described in City Code Sec. 21-97?
  2. If the Pumphouse Restaurant included enough parking in its site plan, why would we otherwise need to lease city land to the Pumphouse Restaurant for parking?
  3. Is the Pumphouse Restaurant responsible for providing its own private parking?
  4. Who’s getting a parking lot "on the cheap" —Victorians or the Pumphouse Restaurant?
  5. What would a 117-space parking lot cost you?
  6. What does it say about the restaurant's business plan when Tom Halepaska claims the restaurant would have no parking due to paddlers if the public parking is not built?
  7. What is driving Tom to be a spokesman for the Pumphouse Restaurant?
  8. How would the bidding process for this property have gone if the public had known it would include 117 parking spaces at a huge discount?

Your conclusions are welcome!