Parking plan OK paves way for Aurora cafe and market

By Ken Lahmers
Correspondent
The location outlined in yellow at South Aurora Road and Maple Lane shows where Evexia.

AURORA – Hoping to open Evexia Cafe & Market this fall, an Aurora couple cleared another hurdle May 19, when the planning commission approved a parking plan for the property.

Bryan and J.J. Garber plan to open the business in the former Aurora Veterinary Clinic building adjacent to Aurora Cemetery at South Aurora Road and Maple Lane. The 0.93-acre parcel is in a C-1 shopping zoning district.

The zoning code requires planning commission approval of any parking facilities located in a front yard, and the Garbers received the OK to add three spaces there, bringing total parking to 28 spaces.

The zoning board of appeals approved a 4-foot front setback variance at its May 12 meeting.

On April 26, City Council granted a Community Reinvestment Area II tax abatement to 46 S. Aurora Road LLC, the couple’s company which would operate Evexia Cafe & Market. The abatement is for 12 years at 50 percent for $425,000 in improvements to the property.

The project will entail HVAC, electrical and plumbing renovations, a kitchen installation, patio construction, restrooms and exterior aesthetic and functional improvements, resulting in an estimated payroll of $350,000 annually within three years.

When Council was discussing the abatement, Economic Development Director Holly Harris Bane described the business as a “casual cafe, bakery and market,” which will offer breakfast and brunch, with 30 seats available for on-premises dining plus takeout.

She added the business also plans to offer after-hours programs for local students and the general public, some vegan and vegetarian food choices and products from local vendors.

“We’ve lived in Aurora for eight years and love this town,” said J.J. Garber. “We’ve found that a few things are missing here, including an independent coffee shop, bakery and place to get some healthy food options, so we hope to fill that void.

“We want to become a community gathering place. We’re making a big investment. We’re grateful for the opportunity to be included in the CRA, and the city’s financial help is a big boost.”

The Garbers propose to open with two full-time permanent employees and 13 part-time permanent employees. The total investment is set at $760,000, with the $425,000 in improvements qualifying for the abatement.

In their application for the abatement, the Garbers stated it will help the business keep costs in line with current financial projections and supply a higher likelihood of success.

In a letter to the Aurora Board of Education, City Finance Director Tim Clymer noted that given the estimated payroll amount, the district likely would not be eligible for a split of the income tax dollars received from the new jobs.

“I’m very excited to see this business open, and I hope residents will support it,” said Ward 3 Councilwoman Reva Barner.

The Evexia Cafe & Market parking plan was the only item on the planning panel’s May 19 agenda.

Some of the pending items on the panel’s agenda are an East Pioneer Trail plat correction, Hawthorn of Aurora’s amended development plan and site plans for Hawthorn Phase 6A, Renaissance Park East Phases 1 and 1B and West Phases 2 and 3, Ganley Chrysler parking lot and Trentstone Glens Phase 1.

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