In a packed Durham City Hall Committee Room early this morning, the Durham County Board of Adjustment voted unanimously in favor of issuing a special-use permit to The Broad Street Cafe.
For the past four years, Broad Street has operated as a nightclub in a district that is zoned so that such a special-use permit is necessary to host music after 10 p.m. Less than one year after the first noise complaint was filed by Clarendon Street neighbor Waldo Fenner, who was not present at this morning's hearing, Broad Street officially received the green light on amping up their regional music bookings in a space that musicians and business owners says is vital to Durham's art scene.
“Broad Street Cafe is important for more than just music,” says Melissa Thomas, founder of the Durham-based indie label 307 Knox Records. “It provides a great venue space for music, festivals and family events, as well as a place to eat for locals and visitors. This hearing just showed us today how much we all have built in Durham over the past five-plus years."
Paul Brock, one of four Broad Street owners, says he's relieved to finally get the permit. “I was very impressed with the board. They were gracious to us, and they asked very smart questions and got a feel for what we are doing,” explains Brock.
“The applicants came back to the board with evidence for the record addressing certain issues the board had questions about,” says Michael Stock, Durham City-County Planning Department's senior planner. The evidence presented to the board indicated Broad Street's continued commitment to ironing out the details surrounding concerns over noise and parking.
This special-use permit allows Broad Street to operate as a nightclub, but it doesn't allow for adult entertainment, something Stock says people often confuse. Broad Street's special-use permit, which outlines that distinction, will be finalized at the next Durham County Board of Adjustment meeting.
“Years down the road the ownership could change,” says Stock, “and the board's conditions for the allowing the permit will take into account those kinds of issues so that whoever operates a nightclub at that venue will follow the specific permit conditions.”