FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The man behind Famous Taco is not giving up. Local restaurateur Martin Quintana was ready to serve tacos at his new location at 6626 W. Jefferson Blvd. when his application was nixed at a Fort Wayne Plan Commission meeting last November.
Stuck with an 11,000-square-foot strip mall in a prime spot on West Jefferson Boulevard, Quintana decided to challenge the Plan Commission’s decision in court.
Folks already know this restaurateur as the owner of Famous Taco on North Clinton and Dos Margaritas and the former owner of Burrito Colonial.
On Tuesday, Quintana and his attorney, Jason Kuchmay, appeared in front of Allen Superior Court Judge Craig Bobay, who will deliver his opinion on the matter on Oct. 20.
Quintana thought he made the application right even though there was a history of work stoppages and assumptions on the part of Quintana that didn’t sit right with the Plan Commission.
The property was originally a home and zoned for residential use. Then, Quintana added a 9,000-square-foot garage. Quintana was later successful in getting the zoning changed to commercial.
The Covington Creek Condominium Association also got alarmed and fought to have any kind of restaurant. They were worried about noise, music blaring at all hours and traffic.
Last fall, an agreement between the association and Quintana was hammered out. Quintana agreed to limit the restaurant’s hours between 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and not play loud music on outdoor speakers nor have any outdoor seating, much like the Famous Taco on North Clinton Street. He also agreed not to have a drive-thru window.
The condos are behind Quintana Plaza, for which he received original approval to build in August 2019.
Fort Wayne City Council agreed to change the zoning from residential to commercial, but the planning board is arguing that submitted documents were “in conflict” with the zoning ordinance
On Tuesday, Kuchmay rejected a suggestion from the Plan Commission’s attorney Robert Eherenman that the case be remanded or sent back to the Plan Commission. He argued that Quintana had satisfied the Plan Commission’s requirements and that by turning him down, the Plan Commission acted “capriciously.”
Eherenman said just because the association signed a commitment with Quintana and “no one showed up to the (Plan Commission) meeting,” it doesn’t make the application sound. The application “doesn’t mention the Fort Wayne ordinance.”
As the court hearing ended, Bobay told the attorneys and Quintana he had “labored over Labor Day,” on this case.
“So is it at a standstill? Not operating?” Bobay asked.
Right now, the brand new brick-and-mortar, red brick, one-story Quintana Plaza is sitting there, awaiting its fate.