Planning Commission denies request for outdoor patio at Walk-On’s

Published 12:28 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The City of Oxford Planning Commission voted down a request from Walk On’s Sports Bistreaux to build an outdoor dining patio amid concerns from other businesses that it would negatively impact their customers.

The case was brought before the commission after staff determined that the University Shopping Center, which Walk On’s is a part of, was already at a 14-parking space deficit according to the city of Oxford’s land development codes. Thus, a variance would need to be granted in order for Walk-On’s to add to the existing deficit.

City code requires restaurants to provide one parking space per 100 square feet of dining area, while parking for retail businesses is determined by the total square footage of the store.

Walk On’s is currently required to provide 42 parking spaces, and the proposed outdoor dining patio would require an additional six spaces, bringing the total parking deficit in the shopping center to 20 spaces.

Parking within the shopping center, which is managed by University Shopping Center LLC, is shared between all the businesses within the center. However, Chaney’s Pharmacy, which sits adjacent to the shopping center, owns their own parking lot that is technically separate from the parking lot for the shopping center.

“Naturally, because Chaney’s owns parking which is literally right at the front door of Walk On’s, customers are inclined to park in the Chaney’s parking lot,” said Chris Watson, an urban planner speaking on behalf Chaney’s Pharmacy.

“It looks like it’s all one parking area and people pull in and park there, but that’s not the case. That’s private property specific for Chaney’s,” said city director of planning Ben Requet.

This has created an issue for Chaney’s, which recently hired security to patrol their lot and ensure that spots are only occupied by their customers.

Chaney’s Pharmacy is not the only business who claims their bottom line has been impacted by Walk On’s.

Ross Boatright, speaking on behalf of his daughter’s beauty parlor Style by Sarah Kate, said that customers from Walk On’s have already taken over all the available spaces on the north end of the shopping center.

“They have taken all her parking. She has a lot of elderly people and they cannot park all the way down there by the bank or the UPS store and walk all the way up there,” Boatright said.

The commission unanimously denied the request for a variance after hearing the concerns from other businesses, citing a lack of evidence to warrant the various and the existing lack of parking.

CORRECTION: Ross Boatright was incorrectly identified as the father of Sarah Kate Purvis, who owns Style by Sarah Kate. Boatright has no relations to Purvis or Style by Sarah Kate.