‘Milk House’ project recommended for rezoning, headed to City Council

A project that would bring a deli, grocery store and bakery to a historic Dubuque building is heading to the City Council.

City Zoning Advisory Commission members voted, 5-0, this week to recommend approval of a rezoning request for a planned unit development at 620 S. Grandview Ave. and 333 Bryant St. Commission Chair Matt Mulligan and member Martha Christ were absent.

The recommendation now heads to the City Council, which will consider the matter at its July 18 meeting.

Property owners Tim Conlon and Roux Conlon-Loar intend to renovate and restore the building popularly known as the “Milk House” to create a grocery store and deli, while the existing building at 333 Bryant will be demolished and a new structure constructed to house a bakery.

“We would ideally like to create one cohesive lot and have them zoned together so that they’re one business,” Conlon-Loar said during the meeting.

Conlon bought the Milk House building last year after the former business, Milk House Artisan Eatery, Baked Goods & Catering, closed following permit issues and pushback from neighbors over the business’ expansion plans.

Conlon said he and his daughter hope to return the building to its original design and establish a long-lasting business.

“We’re hopeful it can become a neighborhood amenity for people to visit and use,” he said.

Speaking at the meeting, South Grandview resident Helene Magee said she does not have a problem with the Conlons’ plans for the property, although “there always is a concern about parking” in the area.

“I am looking down the road, and … if they find out that this business isn’t working the way they want it and they sell that property, I would like reassurance that the new owners wouldn’t be able to establish a bar there,” she said.

City Associate Planner Shena Moon said the proposed planned commercial rezoning designation does not permit using the building as a bar or tavern, which is defined as a business for which sales of alcohol constitute more than 50% of its sales.

Moon also said the project’s conceptual plan includes seven parking spaces on the property, and there are 15 nearby on-street parking spaces along Bryant and South Grandview. She said the business would require a minimum of 16 parking spaces, based on the size of the building.

“There does seem to be a good amount of parking available for the general public in the area,” she said.

Conlon-Loar added that she and her father spoke with a nearby resident who has offered the use of their driveway as employee parking during busy hours.

“We are trying to mitigate traffic and all the problems that the previous places had,” she said.

Commission Member Patrick Norton said he feels any potential parking issue will “solve itself” because if customers cannot find parking, they will choose not to patronize the business.

“I don’t think that’s a reason not to approve this by any means,” he said. “I think this is a great reuse of an existing building and a wonderful use of the adjacent building.”