The city’s zoning board denied a special exception request from the owners of J’Excellence, an event hall located at 5-7 W. Mt. Airy Ave.
The city’s zoning board denied a special exception request from the owners of J’Excellence, an event hall located at 5-7 W. Mt. Airy Ave., on Wednesday – a win for neighbors who have complained about the business bringing noise and disruption to the neighborhood since it opened in April.
Ralph Pinkus, chair of WMAN’s zoning committee, told the Local in a phone call that all the neighbors he’s spoken to since the zoning board’s ruling have “felt pleased that they were heard and that the zoning board responded to their concerns.”
In a phone call, one of J’Excellence’s co-owners, Shas Warner, said the business would be appealing the ruling.
Last week, L&I spokesperson Shemeka Moore told the Local that the business had been operating illegally. The business was denied an event venue permit in November, she said. The business later appealed the ruling, but a decision on the appeal has yet to be made.
“No Business/Operator is allowed to operate until they have all required approvals in hand and inspections have been completed,” Moore said in an email.
Warner, however, disputed the city’s claim. According to the city zoning code, she argued, her business is allowed to operate as long as capacity is kept to 50 people.
“My attorney definitely verified it,” Warner said.
When the Local asked Warner to show where in the zoning it says that event spaces can operate without a special exception if capacity is limited, she refused.
The event space, which has been hosting social gatherings like birthday parties, graduation parties, baby showers and small weddings, is located near other bars and public gathering spaces on Germantown Avenue, including Bar Lizette and McMenamin’s Tavern.
A letter to the zoning board written by WMAN zoning chair Ralph Pinkus had cited residents’ complaints about public urination and litter left on the street by guests at J’Excellence events.
In a zoning meeting held the previous week, neighbors voted 32-0 against granting the special exception, while WMAN’s zoning committee rejected it by a 6-0 vote.
Terry Spross, a resident who lives across the street from the business, said she came home at 2 a.m. one night to find people who seemed to come from the event hall still talking loudly and hanging around the area into the early hours of the morning. Spross’ next-door neighbor, Ron Radke, had a similar experience. He came home late one night to find people hanging around the area after the event.
Parking, Radke and other residents said, was also a concern.