Fairmount: Zoning Controversy Continues Over Coffee House Cooking Permit

The OCF Coffee House in Fairmount and the Spring Garden Civic Association are looking to come to an agreement about prolonged zoning issues within the next month.

Spring Garden Civic Association Vice President Justino Navarro said the previous occupants of 2100 Fairmount Ave. had an agreement with the Zoning Board of Adjustment that there would be no cooking on the grounds. The civic association was under the impression the agreement would be upheld by the next owner of the property.

“The zoning code’s writing indicates that those provisions carry on to a new operator,” Navarro said.

Barista Allison Crutchfield served coffee at OCF.
Barista Allison Crutchfield served coffee inside the OCF Coffee House.

However, OCF was issued a permit from the Department of Licenses and Inspections which allowed for cooking in the space. On March 13, the Licenses and Inspections Review Board held a public hearing to address an appeal against the permit from the civic association. The Zoning Board of Adjustment denied the appeal. Now the civic association has 30 days to submit another appeal and it intends to do so.

OCF Coffee House manager Lori Zaspel said a petition revealed overwhelming support for the coffee house to remain at its current location.

A few residents have complaints. These include an odor emitted from cooking, loud music and high prices.

Resident Kelly Flanigan said she thinks OCF Coffee House is too expensive.

“A lot of my friends are concerned about the prices. I have only been there twice. I went in and got a chai tea with espresso for $5,” she said.

Zaspel has tried to work with community members to resolve their issues.

“One of the people living in the residential property above asked that we move the music speakers from underneath his room and we did,” Zaspel said. “I hope that we can have this same dialogue with other members of the community.”

Fairmount resident Kelly Flanigan enjoyed tea at Mugshots Coffeehouse.
Resident Kelly Flanigan enjoyed a cup of tea at Mugshots Coffeehouse.

Residents are also opposed to a smell emanating from cooking at the coffee shop. Fortunately, the OCF Coffee House and the Spring Garden Civic Association are willing to cooperate with each other to reach a conclusion. Navarro said the odor is one of two or three issues being negotiated between both parties at this time. 

“We’re looking forward. We’re not looking to the past,” Navarro said. “OCF Coffee House and the civic association are very close to an agreement and I’m hopeful and optimistic that an agreement will be reached within 30 days.”

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