The planning and zoning (P&Z) commission gave a thumbs-up to what members described as a unique business that could put Pacific on the map.
Gary and Carrie Null, who recently opened Null and Crossbones, an eclectic retail business at 2165 W. Osage, were seeking two conditional use permits (CUPs) at the P&Z meeting Sept. 12.
One permit would allow the display of large imported metal animals that are set up for sale outside the building. The second permit would allow the owners to construct living quarters on the second floor of the building.
The 10,000-square-foot structure that formerly housed Fog Hollow Motorcycle Parts is located on three levels with loading dock entry on two levels.
A lengthy discussion on the unique qualities and scope of the new retail business revealed that commissioners had visited the site.
City Administrator and Zoning Officer Steve Roth, who was not present at the meeting, made several recommendations on the two requests.
Roth suggested that the living quarters be limited to 1,200 square feet or less, that outdoor storage be limited to the north side of the building and the entire storage area be fenced.
But the business owners asked commissioners to consider what would draw people to the business.
“The outside storage is attractive,” Null said. “We opened Sept. 25, and already 2,000 people have come through. What makes them come is the stuff they see outside.”
Null also said from a security standpoint he did not feel the business needs a fence. He said owners and employees are always on site and alerted when someone enters the exterior of the business.
“I don’t think we need gates or to have things locked up,” he said.
Null said the building fit the couple’s dream of having a location on Interstate 44 and has the added advantage of fronting on Historic Route 66 on the other side.
“This location is awesome for us,” said Null, who also owns and operates a 24-man lawn maintenance business. He and his employees have cleared all the underbrush in one area near a small pond, giving the property a park like setting.
“We would love it if when people come off the off-ramp they see the animals by the pond in a park-like setting,” he said.
Alderman Nick Chlebowski agreed, saying the outside storage requirements of the code should not apply to items proprietary to this business.
“They’re not asking for outside storage of materials or equipment,” Chlebowski said, “They want to store their merchandise outside. This is what they are offering for sale. I think this should be allowed.”
Chlebowski also said he sees no reason to restrict the size of the living quarters to 1,200 square feet.
“Since there is 2,500 square feet on the top level I don’t think we should restrict how much they use for living quarters,” he said.
Chlebowski said the business will be a one-of-a-kind promoter of Pacific.
“This is the kind business that people will be saying, ‘Have you seen that business with all the animals,’ ” he said. “They may not remember the name of the business, but they will remember the animals.”
Commissioner Gary Koelling agreed.
“I visited the business and noticed the area outside with things for sale,” Koelling said. “It was very well manicured. Inside was a classy place, very well thought out, very attractive. It’s awesome.”
Koelling also noted that from the interstate it’s easy to see the people rubbernecking and with cellphones, videoing.
P&Z members vote voted 8-0 to recommend approval of both requests with the stipulation that no outdoor patios or decks be added to the upper level of the building.
The measure is scheduled to come before the board of aldermen for final approval Sept. 19.