Council denies youth club request

The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to deny a minister a conditional use zoning request clearing the way for him to open a restaurant and game room for youths on Martin Luther King Drive.

The Rev. Jessie Quillen had asked for the zoning variance so that he could open the establishment, which, he said, would cater primarily to students enrolled in junior high schools and high schools.

Quillen told the council that he would have a restaurant with a limited menu that was appealing to teens as well as video games and a special area where students could study and complete school work. Quillen said he planned to reward students who demonstrated academic achievement.

Quillen said alcohol consumption and smoking would be prohibited at the club.

However, Councilman Johnny Blount, who represents the area, said he was opposed to Quillen’s opening of the club because the building in question, located at 812 Martin Luther King Drive, was not suitable for what Quillen was trying to establish.

Blount said the building, a former bar, had a history of being a nuisance in the neighborhood. Blount said the building had apartments on a second level and questioned how the club would work with people living in the same building.

Blount asserted that not only did the location lack a parking lot, but said at least one church pastor and others had asked him to oppose the opening of the proposed youth club.

Other matters brought before the council included:

LIQUOR PERMIT: The council voted unanimously to postpone until its Dec. 18 meeting a resolution that would have granted conditional approval of an alcohol sales permit to You Mom’s Bar and Grill in downtown Hammond.

City Permit Director Jinnie Wilson said she had not completed a full audit of the establishment’s sales record for the past year.

As a restaurant and bar, the grill’s owners have to demonstrate that the sale of food represents 60 percent of their profits while the sale of alcohol is at 40 percent.

Wilson said that she could have the audit complete by the December meeting.

SOLID WASTE FEE: Mayor Mayson Foster told the council that the city will have to charge its residents a bit more for solid waste pickup because tipping fees at the Tangipahoa Parish landfill had been increased. Foster said the new rate will be $12.03 per month, up from $11.42 monthly, the current fee.

SALES TAX RECEIPTS: Foster said October’s sales tax revenues amount to $1.52 million, a 6.39 percent increase over sales tax receipts for the same period a year ago.

Sales tax receipts for the current fiscal year are above budget expectations, the mayor said.