ALTON – The fate of a new pizza and sandwich parlor, Nicky G’s Eatery and Catering Business, is back in the hands of the Alton Plan Commission.

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Steve and Dee Gehrs proposed opening a restaurant in a vacant building located at 1801 State St. in Alton. They ran into a roadblock however when the couple found that the zoning had changed for that district and the building is not permitted for commercial use. After finding this, the Gehrs requested for a text amendment to the city code, allowing limited service for a restaurant/caterer.

On Oct. 20, the Alton Plan Commission voted 3-7 against recommending an amendment to the city code. The vote for the amendment would have allowed for a special use permit in the R-2 Single Family Residential Zoning District where the property is located.

Next-door-neighbor to the building is Scott Kelley, who was concerned of the smell of pizza in the air, workers smoking outside, loud noises from the kitchen and increased traffic in the rear alley, for him and his wife Monica have a young child. After several meetings and conversations in attempt to consent upon certain topics, the two couples settled in agreement.

“We have had a very productive conversation in what they are looking to do with this property,” said Kelley as he addressed the Council. “I have come to the opinion that I am comfortable with what they are looking to do and I feel it would be beneficial to the neighborhood so I just wanted to stand before you in favor of what Steve and Dee Gehrs are going to present before you.”

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Before the vote, Ward 1 Alderman Jim Ryan, stated his disagreement with the Plan Commission’s decision.

“We’ve got a lot of these little buildings around town and we need to encourage people to start businesses rather than throw up roadblocks making it difficult for them,” said Ryan. “We seem to be in a pattern of making people jump through a lot of hoops.”

After an all-in-favor vote of 7 - 0 and an abstain vote from Alderman Velloff at the City Hall meeting tonight, the text amendment was granted. The Gehrs must now request the special use permit from the Alton Plan Commission to go forward with their business plans for the building.



SEE TO BE OR NOT TO BE? Pizza/catering business seeks answers at Alton City Council meeting for more on Nicky G's.

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