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Whither Chez Nous

The Encanto Village Planning Committee has cast its vote for the preservation of Chez Nous, the retro nightclub at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road.

Sadly, the committee's desires probably won't save the 40-year-old lounge, which many consider to be a landmark -- if not an attitude -- of historic significance.

Osco plans to slap up yet another ubiquitous square box, a massive stucco convenience store that happens to dispense prescriptions, on the site.

Meeting April 2, the Village Planning Committee recommended that the city approve a new zoning classification for the property.

But the panelists added a stipulation that Chez Nous should be spared and that Osco should apply to have the 1,600-square-foot watering hole deemed a historic structure.

The committee's vote is non-binding. The matter will be considered by the city's Planning Commission. The Phoenix City Council ultimately must approve the zoning matter.

Unfortunately, the developer does not need the rezoning to proceed. The rezoning application was made at the request of city staff.

This reality was maddening for Chez Nous aficionados, about three dozen of whom attended the committee meeting.

"One of the more frustrating things is to have a developer come in and tell you you're inconsequential," says committee member Tom Simplot. "It's infuriating. This isn't what the neighborhood wants. This isn't what's best for our village."

A development consultant who represents Osco declined to comment on the committee's request that Chez Nous be preserved. (Osco, by the way, is owned by Albertsons.)

Chez Nous is one of the more carefree -- and racially integrated -- clubs in Phoenix. It's frequently wall-to-wall with patrons. It's popular because people like the cheesy '60s decor, the laid-back ambiance and the swell dance music.

None of these factors matter a whit to the city.


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