NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – An appeal by Culture Lounge & Restaurant on Granby Street has been denied after the City of Norfolk revoked their restaurant zoning certificate in September.
The Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously on Thursday to not give the certificate back to the business. Culture could now appeal to Norfolk Circuit Court to try and reobtain the certificate.
Culture had been operating with a restaurant zoning certificate since January as part of a compromise with the City Council to stay open, after it allegedly repeatedly violated its restaurant zoning certificate.
According to a statement from City Manager Chip Filer in September, Culture’s violations included “failure to satisfy Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority requirements for restaurant alcohol sales; failure to remit required food and beverage taxes; and providing entertainment within a designated restaurant facility.”
For their part, co-owner Damian Livingston told the board that Culture had paid its taxes and that the error came from miscommunication. He also claimed that the business hadn’t completed its filing for alcohol and food sales for the year yet.
“Nobody knows our rate right now. We’re actually doing it right now,’ Livingston said. “So I don’t even understand why we’re closed.”
The agenda for the meeting included posts from Culture’s Facebook account spanning from May to September advertising events and showing people dancing on the premises.
The board took a vote after members questioned city Zoning Administrator Jeremy Sharp about changes to the city’s conditional use permits and similar issues facing nearby businesses. All seven members voted no.
“It’s very disappointing, but nevertheless they’re going to keep, obviously, fighting. They’re going to file for a conditional use permit, and continue to provide employment and opportunities to the city of Norfolk,” Herman Smith, an attorney for the business, told 10 on Your Side.
“We’re going to, you know, strategize and decide how we want to move forward, whether that’s through an appeal or whether that’s going to be trying to file a conditional use permit.”
Culture has 30 days to appeal the decision.