Citing ‘dramatic impact on character’ of Tuscawilla Historic District, city nixes new meadery

A meadery’s plans to open a location in the Tuscawilla Historic District were nixed after the city expressed concerns about the negative impact on residents.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Ocala City Council, city staff presented council members with an overview of conflicts that arose when reviewing a meadery’s application to manufacture and sell wine and mead on premises in the historic area.

Known as Badazz Bill’s, the business targeted 118 NE Tuscawilla Avenue as its new home after issues arose at a location along SW 60th Avenue.

However, after a thorough review from city staff, Growth Management Planning and Zoning Manager Patty Hitchcock expressed multiple concerns about the potential negative impact that the business would have on residents.

“Any change of use in this compact neighborhood can have a dramatic impact on its character” said Hitchcock. Hitchcock detailed the city’s efforts to reshape the historic district and why a meadery might hurt the Tuscawilla Historic District’s progress.

“The city has taken a number of actions designed to reduce negative pressure on the [Tuscawilla Historic District] residential area. More active uses are expected to be developed along Watula Avenue, however, there should be a transition to lesser intense uses when reaching Tuscawilla and Sanchez Avenues to protect the single family residential uses on those streets” said Hitchcock.

She went on to explain that noise, additional traffic, and “people coming and going” in the late evening to the new business would be disruptive to residents.

“After discussing these concerns with the applicant, the applicant expressed agreement that this is not a proper location for an alcohol beverage establishment,” said Hitchcock.

Upon agreeing with the city and revoking its application, Badazz Bill’s requested a formal denial in order to be released from its lease obligation.

According to its Facebook page, Badazz Bill’s original location along SW 60th Avenue had issues with the foundation that prevented the business from installing proper drainage. The business originally targeted an open date for their Tuscawilla location sometime this August, but is unlikely to meet that goal as a new location has not been announced.