Hitching Post permit for Western-themed entertainment before commission March 27

A February 2016 file photo of patrons of The Hitching Post Saloon who contributed their time, building supplies and Western memorabilia to construct an Old West town facade at the restaurant at 2341 N. Apache Trail in Apache Junction. They are, foreground, Hitching Post owners Tina Lovelady and Mehmood Mohiuddin, and background, from left, Shawn Kukuk; Wes Sanders, standing; Karen Evans; Jamie Mathis; Bonnie Goldsbury, standing; Eileen Raffaelli; Heidi Erickson; Shannon Lorance; Mike McFadden; Mike Schaub; Jeff Goldsbury and DeeAnn Sutter.

A conditional use permit to allow Hitching Post and HP Steakhouse restaurants, 2341 N. Apache Trail in Apache Junction, to conduct various ancillary outdoor entertainment activities on the property will be discussed at a meeting Tuesday.

The restaurant’s owner says the enhancements are needed to better serve clients, while some neighboring residents have expressed concerns over noise already emanating from the venue.

The Apache Junction Planning and Zoning Commission meeting starts at 7 p.m. March 27 in the city council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.

The applicant is Mehmood Mohiuddin, represented by Ralph Pew of Pew and Lake PLC.

“The Planning Division recommends approval of CUP-9-17, but not in full agreement with the applicant’s request,” Rudy Esquivias, senior planner, said in a memo to the commission.

“We recommend approval subject to very specific conditions and very specific performance items for the applicant to accomplish within one year of approval. Staff believes these conditions are necessary to mitigate the impact of both the existing and proposed expanded uses on the property, in light of the impact it has had on the neighborhood thus far – in accordance with the evaluation of the CUP criteria) – and to try and preclude future secondary negative effects,” he said.

Just beyond the subject site there are large-lot single-family residential neighborhoods, Mr. Esquivias said in the memo.

“Development Services staff is aware of complaints from neighbors, including about the new fencing around the bull-riding arena – people can’t see around the corner as easily as they could in the past; noise complaints related to loudspeakers used during bull-riding events and concerts; and, noises and odors coming from the truck storage lot – not a part of this CUP and being dealt with separately through code compliance,” he said.

The new events planned include concerts, a sand volleyball court, cornhole games, fire pits, bull-riding, a putting green and other similar activities for patrons and guests of the restaurants.

“The Hitching Post opened its doors in 2008 and has been an enormously popular entertainment venue along Apache Trail,” Mr. Pew said in a project narrative dated Dec. 22 and revised Feb. 27.

“Since its opening, the owner has continuously updated the site and has invested significant time and money into the business. With this CUP application, the owner is looking to enhance the appeal of the site even further,” he said in the project narrative.

“Capitalizing on the phenomenal weather in the Valley for most of the year, the property owner is seeking to create an indoor/outdoor experience for his patrons,” he said.

The vision is to create an environment where a customer can have dinner at the Hitching Post or HP Steak House and linger afterwards in a courtyard area with a sand volleyball court, gazebo and water feature, a small putting green, corn hole area and fire pits, he said.

“This type of activity area is very popular among Valley restaurant establishments such as The Vig, The Monastery, Culinary Dropout at the Yard and San Tan Flats,” Mr. Pew said.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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