The Carmel Board of Zoning Appeals is giving The GOAT tavern another month to work with Carmel’s Dept. of Community Services to address several issues before voting on several variance requests. The BZA tabled the matter to March 22 at its Feb. 22 virtual meeting.
The GOAT filed plans with the city to add restrooms and a covered outdoor seating area, but BZA members said they’d like to see more evidence The GOAT can be a good neighbor before considering plans for a $500,000 expansion project.
The tavern, which opened in the summer of 2020, replaced Bub’s Cafe, which obtained a variance in 2006 to operate in a residentially zoned area. The variance only allowed the restaurant to operate from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., which city planners overlooked when approving plans for The GOAT.
After the tavern opened in the summer of 2020, city officials began receiving a variety of complaints from The GOAT’s neighbors, who said its patrons were noisy into early morning hours, littered in the surrounding area and trespassed to urinate on private property.
The repeated complaints prompted Mayor Jim Brainard in December 2020 to order The GOAT to abide by the Bub’s Cafe variance and close its doors by 2 p.m., but within days The GOAT owner Kevin Paul agreed to a list of commitments that would allow him to operate the tavern with expanded hours. Those commitments expire Feb. 25, but Paul and the department of community services agreed at the BZA’s request to extend them for a month.
The BZA received feedback for and against the variances from approximately 60 people and did not permit a remonstrator who wished to speak during the February meeting the opportunity to do so.
BZA members said they would support Paul’s plans to add restrooms, but they want to build trust with The GOAT before taking a look at the other variance requests.
“The challenge that I have with this proposal is it is what I consider to be a can of worms, and the can of worms was built for an occupancy of 80 people,” BZA member Leo Dierckman said. “I don’t think we should grow that can of worms until the owner has demonstrated (he) can manage that business.”
Dierckman said he wants to see The GOAT stay open and that he’s seen evidence that Paul has been working to address the issues in recent months.
Paul, who also owns Danny Boy Beer Works and The Brockway Pub, said he is willing to move slowly with plans to expand The GOAT.
“We want to continue to prove we have a handle on things and improve operations and be an asset to the community instead of someone’s angst,” he said.