Instead of rejecting controversial expansion plans for downtown Scottsdale nightclub Devil’s Martini outright, the Scottsdale City Council voted Tuesday to table the proposal, to give owner Richard Geddes the opportunity to revise the plan.
The council voted 6-1 to postpone indefinitely a decision on Geddes’ application for a permit to expand the club, which wraps around the northeast corner of Third Avenue and Goldwater Boulevard.
Geddes asked to withdraw his application after it became clear that most council members opposed it, citing problems with crime, noise and parking.
David Gulino, principal of engineering firm Land Development Services, which represents Geddes, said the club owner is unlikely to resubmit expansion plans without first making major revisions.
“We would like an opportunity to walk away tonight with your comments and rethink this,” Gulino told the council.
The six-year-old club had planned a roughly 4,000-square-foot expansion to include the space formerly occupied by the Café Blue restaurant, bringing the indoor-outdoor Devil’s Martini to more than 13,000 square feet.
“It’s not a change in what’s going on out there. It’s just a minor expansion of what’s already there,” said Tom Rief of Land Development Services.
Plans also called for a new open-roof lounge area in the building’s interior.
“The expansion is timely because competition at this time is fierce,” Geddes said.
However, the proposal met with opposition not only from neighbors objecting to noise that comes from the downtown bars and vehicles that leave late at night, but from city staff, who cited a lack of pedestrian-oriented daytime activity and potential parking dangers.
Also, parking spaces west of Goldwater Boulevard could lead to pedestrians crossing midblock, and the club is in a “retail specialty area,” where the city wants to see more daytime uses, city officials have said. Devil’s Martini is open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Councilman Bob Littlefield cast the only dissenting vote, saying he preferred to simply reject the application. Dragging the issue out would be unfair to neighbors opposed to the project and to Geddes, as well, because he doesn’t have a reasonable chance to meet the city’s criteria for granting the expansion permit, he said.
“I don’t see the point,” Littlefield said.
“I’d like to know what conceivable change could be made that could fit the criteria.”