COLUMBIA — Mike McClung says the city of Columbia has left him hanging in midair — literally.
Last week, the city ordered McClung, the co-owner of Quinton’s Bar & Deli, to stop building a balcony above the downtown establishment.
McClung and his brother Patrick own the restaurant and are adding a 1,688 square-foot rooftop patio, which includes an 88 square-foot balcony overhang. The balcony, which extends four feet beyond the building’s front facade, prompted the city to ask McClung to suspend construction.
City Councilman Jerry Wade said the city is concerned that the balcony is encroaching on the public right-of-way.
“The full issue is still not clear, but in other zoning districts there is a required setback so that things extending out are not over where people and utilities are located,” Wade said.
Wade said the main concern for the balcony is that it is part of a bar; he’s concerned about what will be coming over the balcony with people below.
“We are still figuring it all out,” Wade said. He said the city needs to develop clear requirements for issues that might arise.
Construction at Quinton’s, 124 S. Ninth St., began in July after McClung’s initial plans were approved. At the time of application, McClung said the city informed him that he was within building codes.
“We understand they are trying to do the right thing, but we are compliant to city regulations,” McClung said.
He said he was not trying to “sneak” anything through the city. “If they want to change the ordinances, that’s fine. I’m all for the city being forward thinking.” But McClung said he would “hope it’s not midway through.”
McClung said public works director John Glascock issued the stop-work order Thursday, informing McClung that he needs a right-of-use permit to continue construction. The permit allows building within the public right-of-way.
Initially, McClung was ordered to cease construction completely, but the next day, McClung said he was informed he could resume construction on everything except the 88 square feet of balcony protruding over the front of the building.
The council discussed the issue briefly Monday evening and directed the staff to find out if the right-of-use permit would be a feasible way to deal with such construction projects.
McClung said he hopes the council allows him to complete his project as soon as possible.
“We were not intending to do anything wrong, and we hope the city feels the same way about it soon,” McClung said.