No Painted Pin on Miami Circle!!


Sponsored by: Miami Circle Merchants Association

UPDATE: 12-13-2013

Dear Miami Circle Merchants, Landlords and Neighbors,

As you no doubt have heard by now, the Atlanta Board of Zoning Adjustments voted December 5th to allow The Painted Pin to proceed with their project. Even though the evidence we put forth to the City demonstrated that the proposed use will generate between 100 and 200 new vehicle trips at peak P.M. hour, it was approved. Peak P.M. “hour” is the time when Piedmont Road at the intersection with Miami Circle is already backed up almost to Pharr Rd. Miami Circle is already so congested that passage requires pulling to the side for ongoing traffic. This evidence was presented to the BZA but was not given the proper attention that it deserved. A Parking Generation Study was also performed by an independent expert from Wolverton & Associates, and she concluded that the parking requirements for the proposed use would be between 100% and 150% more than the total spaces available to The Painted Pin. They have a mere 56 parking spaces for a 24,000 square feet Mega Entertainment Complex/Restaurant/Night Club, open until 2 a.m. on various weeknights and 3 a.m. on weekends, which is when they are required to stop serving alcohol.

The Painted Pin was granted approval by the NPU and the BZA because they applied as a “Bowling Alley” not as a restaurant or nightclub. The parking requirements for a restaurant or bar would mean the Painted Pin would need 240 parking spaces. We feel this is a much more realistic number of spaces for such a large venue. The plans that have been presented to the City by The Painted Pin show two kitchens, two full bars, and 146 seats. The kitchens have been described as places merely to heat up food. According to what they have represented at various meetings, they intend to have live entertainment and customer dancing. They have 12 toilets (under the International Plumbing Code—this number of toilets indicates an expected occupancy load in excess of 500 patrons) who are nevertheless limited to only 56 parking spaces.

In a letter to the Miami Circle Merchants Association, veteran Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook expressed his disbelief at the efficacy of The Painted Pin’s proposal by saying “I personally do not understand how the low parking numbers will work.” He also stated in the same letter to the Association that “Unfortunately the NPU based its recommendation upon the consideration of an extremely narrow technical question, instead of the real life complications” that the neighborhood will experience from a use that lacks sufficient parking. This bar/restaurant/bowling alley will impose 100-200 vehicle trips at peak hour on a street that is already overcrowded. Presently vehicles park on both sides of the very narrow 26 feet wide street causing cars to pull over to allow oncoming traffic to pass. The owners of the Painted Pin claim that many of their employees and customers will take Marta and walk to the venue, however, this plan appears completely unrealistic given the distance from MARTA and its lack of availability at closing time.

At the hearing before the BZA, arguments were advanced in support of the SAP that Miami Circle’s roadway is 60 feet wide. As earlier stated, Miami Circle is a narrow 26 feet wide, the width of a typical neighborhood street; with vehicles commonly parked on both sides. The street is also not pedestrian friendly having less than 35% of the necessary sidewalks, for people to walk safely alongside the busy narrow street. It is a fact that Miami Circle is simply not pedestrian friendly, as the Painted Pin and the City claimed. Not only is Miami Circle unsafe for pedestrians, it is already overly congested with vehicle traffic. The Miami Circle Merchants Association agrees with the experts at Wolverton & Associates that adding 100-200 vehicle trips per hour at peak hours to the street will further exacerbate the current conditions and block access to Miami Circle, from Piedmont Road and will make access to Piedmont Road from Miami Circle, increasingly more difficult.

The Association is discussing its options including the option (described by Councilman Shook) that we file an appeal of the BZA’s decision to superior court. The Association remains committed to the 80 merchants and owners who have spoken and indicated their opposition to the proposed project. Over 80 merchants and owners signed their opposition in response to a very balanced letter from the Association that presented The Painted Pins desire to secure additional parking (for instance by way of leases, or shared parking, from adjacent property owners). Not a single merchant or business owner signed in favor of the Mega Complex. Shared Parking Agreements prevent tenants from using their parking lot, outside of their normal business operating hours and many tenants often have after hour functions, in order to promote and market their businesses. Shared Parking Arrangements can also be of great risk and headache to landlords, as they rarely generate enough revenue to cover potential liabilities. The Painted Pin has not identified how it will ameliorate the negative impact of putting a great deal more traffic on the Circle or how it will ameliorate the further negative impact on Piedmont Road and the light at Miami Circle. It is rather clear to see why the Merchants Association, its members and 80 owners, and merchants on the Circle remain opposed to the Mega Complex.

Thank you for your continued support.



The city of Atlanta has approved a SAP (special administrative permit) for the Painted Pin, an approximately 24,000 square foot facility which includes a bowling alley, two kitchens, one for pizzas only, large bar and seating for more than 140 people, for eating and drinking purposes. It also has plans for 12 urinals/toilets (under the 2006 International Plumbing Code such uses must have 1 toilet per 75 patrons), while only having 45 dedicated parking spaces for the entire venue (a number of which are "shared" with other businesses) and ten "valet" spaces in an area wherein their rights to use the property are presently the subject of a lawsuit. Importantly, though the application indicates it can, by using valet services, get additional parking on the property, their approved plans indicate a vast majority of the proposes spaces are 8-feet wide and 18 feet long (under the City of Atlanta Code a standard parking space is 180 square feet (9X20) and no more than 25% of all such parking may be for "compact" cars. The Painted Pin's parking plan shows more than HALF of their spaces already do not meet these standards.

You might ask yourself how a place of this magnitude, which will be able to have a likely occupant load (capacity), of more than 300 people at any given time, only be required to have 45 parking spaces? The answer is that the City of Atlanta only requires bowling alleys have 1 parking space for every 600 square feet of interior space, while requiring bars/restaurants/nightclubs are required to have 1 parking space for every 100 square feet of interior space. Calculated as simply a bowling alley, which is half of the floor area of the venue , or 12,000 square feet, they are required to have only 39-40 dedicated spaces. Calculated as a bar/restaurant/nightclub, they would be required to have 240 parking spaces, a much more realistic number, for a place it's size, of which only half is for bowling. If half of the space were to be calculated as a bowling alley, and half as bar/restaurant/nightclub, than the Association is of the opinion that they should be required to have 140 parking spaces. The Miami Circle Merchants Association is of the opinion, that due to the operational intentions of the Painted Pin, that the City of Atlanta require the Painted Pin to meet the parking requirements of a restaurant or bar, and not a Family Entertainmemt Complex.

During a meeting with the association, they also purported to have live entertainment, and customer dancing. The applicant intends to close at 3 a.m. on weekend nights and after midnight, on most weekdays. This is not your typical bowling alley/family entertainment complex.

No to a SAP for the Painted Pin!

Why? It is very simple. While their SAP application is for a family entertainment complex which discussed earlier, explains that the City of Atlanta Code requires only 1 space per 600 square feet, their filed plans show more than 140 seats which contemplate food and beverage sales. A restaurant (which is how the PP indicates it will secure its alcohol licensing), is required by COA Code to have 1 parking space per 100 square feet of space. At their presentation to the Miami Circle Merchants Association, they indicated that their operation would include a bar and restaurant with fine wines and great food, all encompassed inside a bowling alley/Entertainmemt complex. They also stated that they intend to have British Pub games.

Their plans shows only 39 dedicated parking spaces but they told us that their business plan is to serve 400-600 people per night. The Miami Circle Market Center is a design related street with art galleries, antique dealers and interior design showrooms. Most if not all of the shop owners have regular night time events. We believe bringing upwards of 400 additional cars on a daily basis to the Circle, will destroy the District, which the Merchants Association has spent millions of dollars in branding and marketing. A bowling alley/family entertainment complex/large restaurant/bar or nightclub with live entertainment and customer dancing, is not the right fit for our community.

The street is narrow by the City of Atlanta’s definitions and on-street parking already leaves us virtually unable to navigate the street in the evenings. Given the recent decision by the Georgia 400 Trail project to locate a major trailhead at the terminus of Miami Circle and the impact of other businesses which already have dramatically fewer spaces available for parking than their current customer draws, it is our concern that the traffic volume and congestion from this project are incompatible with the existing uses. We have one company that has 2 spaces but brings in more than 100 extra cars filling our street on both sides making for a very dangerous situation. Bringing hundreds of more cars to Miami Circle on a daily basis, will create a logistical nightmare not only on the Circle, but onto an already traffic jammed Piedmont Road. Outside of the sheer gridlock we feel it will cause, real public safety issues will arise.

We have filed an appeal of the grant of the SAP to the Painted Pin which is scheduled to be heard by the Atlanta Board of Zoning Adjustments in December.

Click here for the Miami Circle Merchants Association website