Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Troppo gains approval for second-story addition

July 19, 2001

Kris Elliott, owner of Troppo, hopes to start construction on the restaurant’s second-story addition as soon as possible.

On Tuesday, Troppo, 213 Ann St., was approved for a special-use permit by the East Lansing City Council to build a second-story addition with indoor and outdoor dining.

Elliott told the council he would begin construction as soon as he received a building permit and would hopefully be ready to open right after Thanksgiving.

The council voted 4-1 to approve the permit. Councilmember Bill Sharp was the only member to vote against the approval.

Sharp wanted to defer a decision by nine months after meeting with Elliott and Bailey Neighborhood Association members.

“I think we should wait nine months,” Sharp said. “We want to make it as acceptable as possible to everyone involved.”

The application by Troppo was the center of controversy, with residents unsure of the use of the establishment.

Jim Liesman, chairman of the Bailey Community Association, attended every meeting on the issue and felt the restaurant was still too young to be requesting another addition.

“They say they are fine dining, but they advertise them as a bar,” he said. “We’ve had problems with bars in the past.”

Sharp agreed with Liesman, saying if the council waited nine months to approve the expansion it would know for sure if Troppo was a bar or a place for fine dining.

But not everyone wanted Troppo to wait on the addition.

Ed Belles, an East Lansing resident, said he has been to Troppo 25 to 30 times and considers it to be a fine dining restaurant that is not leaning toward becoming a bar.

“With their prices, I could not afford to drink in there if I was in college,” he said. “I think they’ve established themselves as fine dining - they do a wonderful job.”

But the council still placed 23 conditions on the permit, including one requiring Troppo gets no liquor violations between now and the time construction is complete.

Councilmember Sam Singh said the rooftop dining will provide a unique atmosphere to the downtown.

“My intent is to create an environment for the downtown,” he said. “I’d like to see us take unique opportunities with individuals that brings a unique environment to the downtown.

“It adds to the flavor of the downtown that we’ve been trying to bring to East Lansing for the last six years.”

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