Designer David Ledbetter either misspoke at today’s Board of Adjustment, has a reading comprehension challenge, or has an interesting perspective on truth telling.
Ledbetter, to refresh memories, is the only name we have attached to the mysterious “Exhale” restaurant/bar being attempted at NW 15 and Broadway on the eastern edge of Heritage Hills.
When I first posted on this development, it was simply to note that it was going on without much notice and that it had passed through the Board of Adjustment without any comments from neighbors.
I never once in my post indicated that it would be a nightclub, hip-hop club or strip club (or for that matter a Rave club, Heavy Metal venue or a Drag Show club). These were questions and worries raised by readers as they looked at the posted interior designs and pondered the name on the application, “Exhale.” Read the previous post here.
I reached Ledbetter, asked if he could get me in touch with the operators. He declined, but agreed to show me the exterior designs and went on to tell me it was going to be restaurant and country-western performance venue. He also went on to say “Exhale” was not going to be the name, it was just the name of the newly formed LLC and it was a spur of the moment naming chosen by the owner to describe their sense of relief of moving forward. I reported back with Ledbetter’s information. But the questions and debate continued. Then a person identifying themselves as the manager of “Exhale” accused me of “stirring up” the neighborhood and said they would be contacting me. I invited them to do just that. No contact followed.
Then we find out that the operators did not send the legally required notices to neighbors for the Board of Adjustment meeting. The item was back on the docket today, and despite a request by Ledbetter to continue the action, the board rescinded its previous vote and reheard the application.
When asked why neighbors thought it might be a nightclub, Ledbetter had this to say:
“The writer for The Oklahoman blog, on his post, he basically said it was going to be nightclub, and he further insinuated it was going to be a hip-hop club.”
Folks, read the previous posts for yourselves. Here and here. I did no such thing.
The Board of Adjustment vetoed the application for a variance on parking. But this deal doesn’t appear to be over yet. If by keeping readers informed of what’s going on in their neighborhoods is the definition of me “stirring up” residents, heck yeah, I’m guilty. I plead very, very guilty and I plan to commit this crime many, many more times for as long as I can.
Mr. Ledbetter, you’ve been in this business for a long time. I’m curious as to how the neighbors were not given legal notice on this project. I’m curious as to why, if this is such a wonderful, fine dining establishment in the works, that the operators won’t come out and talk to the neighbors, identify themselves and detail their business plan.
Next step: Exhale folks plan to apply for alcohol and beverage zoning at the Planning Commission on Feb. 23.. Ledbetter continues to insist this will be a restaurant, and not a nightclub. This story has not occupied much of time to date and has taken a back seat to other developments in the news. But with his misstatement at today’s meeting, Mr. Ledbetter has my full attention.
For the record, the neighbors who showed up at today’s Board of Adjustment pointed out the reason they think this is going to be a nightclub is because it has a large dance floor and performance stage with “snack bar” seating often found at strip clubs. It also has two bar areas.
See the plans below: