By John Schaffner

The chairman of Neighborhood Planning Unit-B (NPU-B) is on a crusade backed by his board to stop the Havana Club from obtaining its liquor license and any permits it needs to open at its new location, 3112 Piedmont Road.

At the July 1 NPU-B meeting, Chairman Jeff Shell said the owner of the Havana Club illegally started construction without a building permit at the site of a former antiques store after lying to the NPU and lying to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

The club ownership has since gotten a building permit but does not have a liquor license. Shell plans to do all he can to ensure the club never gets one.

He and a contingent from NPU-B plan to attend the July 22 meeting of the License Review Board, at 5 p.m. at City Hall, and fight the club’s attempt to circumvent the NPU process by going directly to the LRB for a license.

Shell said NPU-B has not approved or denied the Havana Club’s request for a special zoning exception.

Sally Silver, who chairs the NPU’s Development and Transportation Committee, said the club went to the Zoning Committee for a special exception to parking requirements. The Zoning Committee wanted additional information and asked the club owners to agree to a 30-day deferral to obtain and present that information. The owner accepted that request, but then bypassed the normal process and appeared at the next meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and misrepresented what happened at the NPU, claiming he had been harassed, Silver said. The BZA approved the Havana Club, but a property owner down the street appealed the decision, and that case is being heard in the Fulton court.

The city went ahead and issued a building permit.