Carmel orders tavern to follow variance, close at 2 p.m. 

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The City of Carmel is ordering owners of The GOAT tavern to alter its hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. to comply with a variance that allows a restaurant use on the residential site only under those conditions.

The city’s legal department sent a non-compliance Dec. 8 letter to Kevin Paul, owner of The GOAT, stating that failure to follow the order could result in citations, a civil suit or the city taking action to “abate the nuisance and rehabilitate the property” by placing a lien on it to cover the costs.

City officials previously acknowledged that they missed the conditions of the variance for the site when they approved plans for the tavern at 220 2nd St. SW earlier this year. The site previously was home to Bub’s Cafe, which received a variance to operate a restaurant in a residentially-zoned site between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. The variance, approved in 2007, states that the site would revert to residential zoning if it were no longer used as a cafe.

Dept. of Community Services Director Mike Hollibaugh previously said he realized the mistake in May, when construction for The GOAT was well underway. He filed a petition to rezone the site and the Carmel Clay Historical Society property north of it from residential to mixed-use, which is set to be reviewed by the Carmel Plan Commission on Dec. 15.

At the Dec. 7 city council meeting Mayor Jim Brainard said the city was working on changes to “make (The GOAT) compatible with other businesses that are operating under the same rules successfully without complaint in that neighborhood.”

But the following day, the city issued a press release explaining its decision to change course.

“City representatives have met with the owners on numerous occasions, but problems have persisted. Continued complaints from neighbors and businesses about how the venue was operating made it clear that the current variance had to be enforced,” the press release states. “Until now, it was hoped that operations at the GOAT could continue while the request for a change in zoning went through the proper process, but based on the continued and numerous complaints and the number of police calls, that is no longer possible.”

The GOAT will need to obtain a new variance or zoning change to legally stay open past 2 p.m.

Since The GOAT’s opening in mid-August, neighbors who live near it have complained of noise, litter, customers urinating and vomiting on their private property and more. The city council is in the process of updating its noise ordinance to address the problem, and on Dec. 7 it passed an ordinance that imposes fines for urinating and defecating in public places.

Current has reached out to Paul for comment.


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