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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, May 9, 201804:57 AM EST

Laveranues Coles denied outdoor expansion of lounge

Company owned by former NFL wide receiver wants to add deck.
by: Scott Sailer Staff Writer

The Jacksonville Planning Commission on Thursday denied a zoning exception for an outdoor expansion at the XO Lounge in Southside.

Heavy Man LLC, a company owned by Laveranues Coles Jr., operates the 5,000-square-foot nightclub at 3535 St. Johns Bluff Road.

He sought an exception to extend alcohol service to a proposed 3,000-square-foot deck area next to the building.

Laveranues Coles

Coles is the agent listed for the current exception for XO Lounge and property owner Tolemac Inc.

The application states the purpose of the exception is to provide “a safe and ADA accessible area for patrons to smoke.”

A sign at the site states a 3,000-square-foot Outside Event Space is coming the spring of 2018 with a rendering of tables and chairs on the deck.

The commission denied the exception because it denied a companion administrative deviation concerning parking.

On June 8, the commission approved an exception to sell alcohol inside the building and an administrative deviation to reduce parking spaces from the required 136 spaces to 84.

The exception for outdoor seating required more parking.  Coles applied for a companion administrative deviation to reduce the required number of parking spaces from 156 to 84. 

The commission was not presented with legal easements for parking on neighboring properties and denied the exception based on the denial of the administrative deviation. 

The site includes another building with two tenants, UPS and a retail store, that share the existing 84 parking spaces.

During his presentation to the commission, Coles said he had agreements to share parking on neighboring properties at the Sears Outlet Center and the Seafood Express & More Restaurant.

Coles has 21 days to appeal the decision.

Coles emailed a statement that his only comments would be at the commission presentation and he declined to respond to other questions.

A former NFL wide receiver, Coles is a Jacksonville native and played for Ribault High School and Florida State University. He spent most of his 10-year NFL career with the New York Jets.

Coles has attempted several projects in Jacksonville in recent years.

Coles wanted to lease and operate a nightclub at Philips Highway and Bowden Road, near University Boulevard. The building was developed in 1967 and operated as a “gentlemen’s club.”

Early this year, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority bought the property at 5800 Philips Highway for demolition and conversion as a bus transit hub.

Coles also planned to open Levels Nightclub at 323-325 E. Bay St. Downtown but conveyed the property back to the Insetta family in November 2015.

Coles, through Past Trouble LLC, bought the building in October 2013 for $750,000 from 325 East Bay Street LLC, whose manager is Insetta Family Properties LLC.

Insetta Family Properties issued a $640,000 mortgage the day of the purchase to Past Trouble LLC.

The Downtown Development Review Board approved the design with conditions in February 2014. Work was suspended at the site by late 2014.

The commission approved several zoning exceptions:

• For alcohol sales in conjunction with a restaurant and a companion waiver of liquor distance for Fuzzy’s Taco Shop planned for the north end unit of the commercial strip at 8221 Southside Blvd., the former home of Uncle Maddio’s Pizza. 

Approval came with the condition stipulating the adjacent Jacksonville Country Day School has the right for reasonable approval of liquor sales and any outside use of tables and chairs on the entire commercial strip, which is owned by Retail Strategies LLC.

• For the Eglise Evangelique Baptiste Bethlehem Westside of Jacksonville Florida Inc., a church at 4565 Ricker Road. The 2.09-acre property contains an 800-square-foot residence built in 1957 that was converted to a church. 

The proposed church is a 10,000-square-foot structure with a 310-seat sanctuary of 5,788 square feet. The exception was required for a church in a Residential Low Density zoning district.

• For a fitness center at 546 Myrtle Ave. in a vacant warehouse in a Light Industrial zoning district. The almost 13,000-square-foot warehouse, built in 1950, will be used for an indoor soccer training facility with three fields, exercise and locker rooms and a clubhouse area.

• For a proposed 5,743-square-foot church for Southside Assembly of God on a 5-acre parcel at 6851 Southpoint Parkway. The vacant parcel lies within Southpoint in an Industrial Business Park zoning district which permits churches by exception. 

Southside Assembly of God sold its San Marco property for construction of apartments.

• For the proposed Smash pingpong restaurant and bar for the sale of all alcohol on premises. The 13,000-square-foot facility will accommodate 20 pingpong tables, two bars, a kitchen, restaurant seating for 265 people and private areas for corporate and other events. 

The facility is in Baymeadows Junction at 8206 Philips Highway, a former General Motors plant converted for commercial use. Other businesses in the 168,000-square-foot building include Scan Design, Bailey’s Health and Fitness, La Nopalera and Maa Kitchen restaurants, medical and dental offices, Express Employment and other businesses. 

The property is in an Industrial Light zoning district, which requires an exception for the sale of alcohol in conjunction with a restaurant. Seven previous applications for alcohol sales with a restaurant have been approved for other businesses on the property since 2005.

• For Keen Brewing Co. for a taproom along with a companion administrative deviation for a parking reduction from 34 off-site parking spaces to none. 

The property at 2100 Dennis St. contains an 18,472-square-foot vacant industrial building on a half-acre parcel within Industrial Light zoning.

The facility will contain a craft brewery with the taproom and gaming area. Brewery owner Joe Baez also plans an indoor bocce ball court and pingpong tables.

• For a school at 5417 Lenox Ave. in a Commercial Community General-2 zoning district along with a companion administrative deviation for a reduction of the required lot size from 2 acres to 1.52 acres for a school.

The property was developed as a church in 1961 and converted to The Broach School. The proposed school intends to offer grades K - 5. The application indicates the exception will be granted to New Kingdom Harvest Church International Inc.

 The commission also approved a minor modification to a 2014 Planned Unit Development at 3412 University Blvd. N. owned by OLT II Inc.

The developer plans to reconfigure parcel areas and increase allowable building heights in one parcel to 60 feet. 

The development allows for the Jacksonville University Health Sciences Building, residential dormitories, offices, commercial use and sororities and fraternities primarily associated with JU.

And the commission approved Ordinance 2017-231, creating a new Chapter 261 relating to the storage of tires in the Commercial Community General-1 zoning district.

The intent of the ordinance is to remove “blight” by requiring the storage or display of vehicle tires to be placed indoors or be set back either 30 feet with a visual barrier fence or 20 feet with a 10-foot-wide landscape screening from all property lines.

The ordinance will be enforced five years after final approval by City Council.

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