Allan Appel file photo

Sandra’s owners Miguel and Sandra Pittman: Planning to push back on zoning board rejection.

Nora Grace-Flood photo

The contested outdoor refrigeration containers on Arch St.

City zoners turned down a Congress Avenue culinary institution’s bid to store five outdoor fridges in a residentially zoned area — following testimony from the restaurant’s neighbor that the restaurant’s expansion has resulted not just in nationally renowned chicken wings, but also pesky rodents and stenches. 

The restaurant’s owners now plan to contest that decision so that they can continue to keep corn, sugar, flour and plenty of perishables nearby as they look to continue serving the neighborhood they’ve long called home.

That was the upshot of an hour-long hearing held Tuesday night by the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals which pitted owners and supporters of Sandra’s Next Generation, the beloved Congress Avenue soul food stop, against Hill Alder Evelyn Rodriguez and other residents of the perpendicular Arch Street in a fight over outdoor refrigerators and residential rights. 

Sandra’s owners, married couple and business partners Miguel and Sandra Pittman, showed up to the Zoom meeting seeking permission to keep in place a slate of refrigerated shipping containers they first installed behind their property back in 2017 to support their growing Hill business. They said they learned only last year that zoning technicalities meant those coolers were non-compliant with local law. 

Rodriguez and fellow critics of Sandra’s outdoor fridge-placement setup, meanwhile, argued that the refrigerators were and should be illegal” — and that their presence in a residentially zoned neighborhood was causing annoyances for residents.

We’re here to make the community better,” Sandra Pittman told the BZA. We have 25 employees — they have homes, they have mortgages,” she said. For Sandra’s to be

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