Artmosphere goes before Zoning Commish Monday

by Walter Pierce

Artmosphere owner Berry Kemp
Photo by Robin May

Artmosphere owner Berry Kemp’s new gambit for saving her beloved bistro begins Monday evening before the Zoning Commission. That’s where Kemp will ask commissioners to rezone her property from Central Business District to General Business; the G-B zoning designation would allow Kemp to apply for a bar license from the city while freeing her from the requirement that more than 50 percent of revenue at Artmosphere be derived from food sales — a requirement Artmosphere has long failed to meet because it is permitted as a restaurant and not a bar.

According to Kemp, the Planning & Zoning Commission staff will recommend that the commission grant the request, but commissioners, according to our sources, have some misgivings about the precedent they would be setting by allowing what is in character more a bar-slash-music venue be exempt from the moratorium on bar licenses Downtown. But regardless of how the Zoning Commission votes, the matter will still go before the City-Parish Council on Sept. 15, and the council has final say on whether Kemp will get her rezoning request.

Tonight’s meeting is a public meeting and Kemp is encouraging Artmosphere supporters and patrons to show solidarity with their presence.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Chenier Center, 220 W. Willow S. near Evangeline Thruway.

Read more about Artmosphere’s permitting predicament here.