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Birmingham reverses Pearl parking denial

By Kevin Elliott

Birmingham city commissioners on Monday, January 25, reversed a previous denial to The Pearl, 856 N. Old Woodward, to use several on-street parking spaces, determining they met zoning ordinance requirements.

The four-story, 90,000-square-foot, mixed-use building has three retail tenants on the first floor and residential units on upper floors. Because the building isn’t in the city’s parking assessment district, it must provide all required parking on-site. Therefore, the owner sought permission from the city to include five metered parking spots in front of the building’s right-of-way along N. Old Woodward in order to meet the parking requirements.

The number of spots required at the building is dependent on the number of retail tenants and the types of services. The owner has proposed two salon/spa uses and a specialty foods store, which are permitted uses. The building has 65 parking spaces with 42 required for residential, leaving 23 spaces for the three commercial tenants.

First floor tenant Lash Lounge has seven service chairs, therefore requiring 14 spaces. Another tenant, Fruition, is a 1,200 square-foot, specialty foods store requiring four spaces. Aurora Medi-Spa has applied to occupy the third retail space with five service chairs, requiring 10 parking spaces, leaving the spa five spaces short of the parking requirement.

In November, The Pearl’s request to use six on-street, public parking spots to meet parking requirements was denied by the city commission. At that time, some commissioners recommended coming back to the commission and requesting inclusion in the city’s parking assessment district. The current building was constructed in 2020 and is not included in the adjacent parking assessment district. Properties that are included in the district aren’t required to meet zoning requirements for on-site parking for any commercial uses, including retail, salons and food establishments.

At the city commission meeting on January 25, commissioners agreed to allow the public spaces in front of the building to be used by The Pearl in order to meet the parking requirements. Commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of the motion, with commissioner Clinton Baller opposing the motion.

Baller explained he would only support the motion if it required The Pearl to open its private on-site parking for residents to commercial customers, and that a sign to that effect be posted.


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