City planning commissioners voted Tuesday to support the Red Dog Saloon’s proposal to use hanging baskets and potted plants instead of in-ground landscaping as it adds square footage.
The commission also approved the popular downtown bar and restaurant’s planned 540-square-foot expansion.
The expansion and a variance allowing the business to remove existing landscaping as part of an overall plan to redesign the area with an old west motif received unanimous support.
“The Red Dog is trying to do something special there,” said project architect Rich Conneen, like something seen in an old west movie.
He said using potted plants and hanging baskets outside would allow a more attractive display while removing a run-down planter that is a trip-and-fall hazard.
The business was required to provide 5 percent vegetation cover in that area, a policy the commission may discuss abolishing at a later date as the seasonally busy tourist area has limited space.
The bulk of what Conneen sought didn’t go before that panel. The saloon proposes an addition with a flat-front Italianate facade at South Franklin Street and Admiralty Way to expand the existing saloon and gift shop. The addition is outside the historic district. An existing pedestrian plaza exists on the site.
The business received a conditional use permit, which planning staff recommended the commission grant.
In other business, planners recommended extending the parking requirements asked of projects in the downtown district to the area known as the Willoughby District. The area is roughly bounded by the Willoughby loop, Capitol Avenue and Egan Drive and includes the Federal Building and the Foodland shopping complex.
Downtown is a high-density area where there are few large lots and many residents choose to walk to neighborhood shops. City planners hope the Willoughby area, which is the site of proposed and pending state building projects, will grow in a similar way with mixed-use housing and business developments replacing the existing sprawling parking lots and disparate land uses.
No one offered public testimony before the unanimous vote.
Planners put off action on a conditional use permit to establish two accessory apartments in two detached single family dwellings on Hughes Way pending more information from the city legal team.
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Editor's note: This story has been modified to reflect the Planning Commission’s approval of a 540-square-foot expansion to the Red Dog Saloon.