The developer of 6626 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Fort Wayne will get the chance to redeem the problematic project.
The Fort Wayne Plan Commission on Monday night gave a positive recommendation to the site's rezoning and approved its primary development plan by a 5-0 vote, with one abstention.
The project, which began as a proposal to add a 9,000-square-foot garage to a residence, morphed into a proposed restaurant and then a shopping plaza with four units.
The alternate proposals were floated after the use and design of the building was questioned and work was stopped because of building code violations.
The fate of the latest plan is now in the hands of the City Council, which must give final approval to the rezoning before the project, proposed by Fort Wayne restaurateur Martin Quintana, can proceed.
Plan commission member Rachel Tobin-Smith abstained from the vote. She said it was because she owns property in the nearby Covington Creek development.
During last week's public hearing, some neighbors said it was the first time they'd seen the latest plan for the site – four strip-style commercial units with 42 parking spaces and an 11,000-square-foot building.
The developer's representatives said if there were a restaurant use, it would not be large and would not have a drive-thru or outdoor eating area.
Limited commercial zoning was sought.
After Monday's vote, the project's architect, Matt Kelty of Kelty Tappy Design, said he and his client were relieved by the outcome.
“I think that he will be very relieved that the investment he has made will not be for naught,” Kelty said.
Kelty said attempts will be made “to minimize any problems with the neighbors” going forward.
A written commitment to limit uses has been signed, he said.
“He got off on the wrong foot,” Kelty said of Quintana, associated with the Las Lomas, Dos Margaritas and Famous Taco restaurants in Fort Wayne. “But I think it's a really great project moving forward that will be an asset to the neighborhood and the city.”
It could not be determined how the building code citations would be handled.
City Council will likely introduce the rezoning during its Aug. 27 meeting, Kelty said.