Seafood market gets OK to open without paved lot

Published 11:57 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A new seafood market got the city zoning board’s OK Tuesday to open without a required paved parking lot.

Charles Toney was granted an 18-month variance by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, which allows him to operate Toney’s Seafood Market at 710 U.S. 61 North for 18 months while he makes arrangements to pave a 13-space parking lot, including two for handicapped.

Toney had planned to open the business Tuesday, but was delayed by the parking issue.

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“We’re giving him a chance to see if his business is good before he spends all that money,” board member Fred Katzenmeyer said.

Toney estimated an asphalt parking lot at the one-acre site will cost $25,000.

“The problem is this is a low-volume business,” he said. “I was looking to keep it under $8,000.”

The ordinance says a business in a commercial zone must have parking areas, driveways and circulation areas surfaced with asphalt, concrete or an aggregate of each. The ordinance prohibits gravel, but the variance will allow Toney to lay gravel during that time.

However, the American Disability Act requires that all handicap spaces must be paved, Zoning Administration Dalton McCarty said.

“The handicap space is not a problem,” Toney said. “I’ll have that paved to the front entrance of the building.”

After 18 months, McCarty said Toney must re-apply for another variance or shut down if he does not comply.

The market, which will sell a variety of fresh fish and seafood, will operate from a 40-foot-long mobile structure between Sonic Drive-In and 61 North Super Lube.

“I’m opening up this building to try to make it a little bit nicer than what we’ve been doing of standing out in the weather,” said Toney, who has operated a seasonal, mobile crawfish market called The Dock for 13 years. He also is the owner of Toney’s Restaurant, a dine-in restaurant on Mission 66.

Local businessman Paul Campbell owns the land where the market was built, but Toney said he has plans to buy it.

His target opening date is Feb. 12.