Planners approve street closure, nightclub, carwash


The Pine Bluff Planning Commission addressed a street closure to prevent trash dumping, a new club opening in the westend and a carwash and convenience store.

The commission addressed a request from Robert Aikman, owner of an apartment complex, to close a street to prevent illegal dumping of garbage and sent the matter to the city council.

Aikman said he wants to close East 45th Avenue, east of South Main Street, to prevent vehicle traffic and illegal dumping of garbage. Pine Bluff Alderman Steven Mays attended the meeting and supported Aikman.

“Robert Aikman has done an excellent job investing in Pine Bluff,” Mays said. “I am asking you to help him and his family.”

Pine Bluff Fire Marshal Fred Tisdale objected to closing the road because it would prevent firefighters from accessing it in an emergency.

The commission approved the recommendation to close the street provided it meets the following conditions: There must be a gate to allow police officers, firefighters and utility company employees access to the street. There must also be access for maintenance of the Eden Park drain and conservation activities of the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance.

In other matters, the pane approved a request for a use permitted on review for Sandra Jefferson to open the Tin Top Lounge nightclub for people at least 30 years old at 1220 Oakwood Road.

“This property will enhance the community,” Jefferson said.

She said the proposed lounge would be open on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight and would have security measures. Jefferson said she applied to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for a beer sales permit.

Commissioner Gordon Reese said he was not comfortable with establishing the Tin Top Lounge with the requirement that patrons be at least 30 years of age, noting the drinking age is 21. Reese questioned the appropriateness of making an age distinction. Jefferson said she is the person making the age distinction.

The commission approved Jefferson’s request with the following conditions: Tin Top Lounge must provide at least 15 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet. It must operate with a beer permit only from the ABC. The nightclub may not advertise or rent space for private parties or operate as an event center under the City of Pine Bluff Zoning Code. The nightclub must close by midnight except for one night of the week at 1 a.m. Patrons be at least 30 years of age. There must be security measures. The approval could be reconsidered if there are concerns about the operation of the nightclub regarding those provisions or any other infringement upon the use of nearby properties.

In other business, the commission approved a request with stipulations to allow Lucky Holman and Cedric Maxwell to move forward with plans to open Renaissance Car Wash & One Stop Convenient Store at 1603 W. 13th Ave.

“Security is the most important thing, to protect our employees and patrons,” Holman said. “And there will be plenty of parking.”

Pine Bluff resident Vessie Proctor spoke in favor of Holman’s request, calling him a responsible businessman looking to improve the quality of life in Pine Bluff.

“If you grant this request, we will be blessed,” Proctor said.

Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning Commission assistant director Alex Koenig recommended tabling Holman’s request so Holman could develop a site plan to address parking issues.

“The parking issue is a non-starter,” Koenig said.

Koenig said he is also concerned about security, noise, the pickup of trash, establishing operating hours for the convenience store versus the car wash and delivery hours.

Meeting as the Pine Bluff Board of Zoning Adjustment, the group granted a church’s request for a joint use of parking. Calvary Evangelism Center’s pastor, Willie Thornton, said the church wants to sell electronic equipment from a building it owns at 2314 S. Blake St. The board approved the church’s request with the following stipulations: There must be an acceptable legal arrangement to record the agreement; the existing parking area must be painted to show parking spots; and the board should have the right to reconsider the approval should there be any future situations if the parking is not sufficient.