Kumo Japanese Seafood Buffet, which hopes to open in the former Bally's building on Pearl Road, was served some bad news Thursday night by the Strongsville Planning Commission, which said the restaurant does not have nearly enough parking spaces.
City planners said the Japanese-Chinese-American buffet can provide only 336 parking spaces -- 205 short of the requirement.
Assistant Law Director Dan Kolick said the business' plans are "extremely under our parking requirements."
The commission voted unanimously against a conditional use permit and advised the developers to seek a variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Kumo, which currently has a location on Snow Road in Parma, is seeking to occupy 9,000 square feet on the first floor of 14783 Pearl Rd.
Its website says it also offers a hibachi and sushi options. It would be Strongsville's sixth Japanese restaurant.
Elevated Fitness is seeking to open an exercise and workout facility on the second floor.
Kolick said the businesses operating in the plaza must share the parking spaces, and restaurants -- which need a larger number than other retailers, under city code -- have already taken a large chunk of them.
Kolick said that when the shopping center was designed, it was "set up for very limited food service use."
Planning Secretary Carol Oprea said restaurants need more parking spaces because patrons tend to use them longer than for other retail businesses.
Developer Mark Ruby asked how the parking lot could support the former Strongsville Theater, where customers parked for hours at a time.
Kolick said the theater did get a variance for about 100 parking spots, but said planners considered the daytime vs. evening traffic and the mix of stores in the plaza at the time and determined they could share the spaces adequately.
If Kumo can convince the zoning appeals board to grant a variance for the parking space deficiency, the business would return to the Planning Commission for site plan approval.