Restaurant wants part of Donnelly Walk for outdoor dining
A part of Donnelly Walk, a downtown walkway between Sanford Street and Unquowa Road, would be set aside for outdoor dining under a restaurateur's proposal headed to a Zoning Board of Appeals' hearing next Thursday.
Duane Lanham, who owns the 48 Sanford St. building that houses Archie Moore's Bar and Restaurant, said in a petition to the ZBA that he wants to section off a 220-square-foot area of Donnelly Walk so the restaurant can add three tables and a total of 12 seats. To do that, he needs the ZBA to grant a waiver of six required parking spaces.
The proposed outdoor dining area would block off about half the width of Donnelly Walk where it is closest to Sanford Street, according to a map on file in the town's Zoning Department.
The Archie Moore's application is one of four applications filed by local restaurants that the ZBA will review when it meets at 2 p.m. next Thursday in Sullivan-Independence Hall.
Lanham didn't return a call for comment, but said in the zoning application that no parking spaces exist on site and that his request is similar to requests other restaurants have made for outdoor dining. He said in the application that Fairfield Center "will benefit through this seasonal addition by adding diversity and enhancing the evening vitality of the area" and that Archie Moore's, the Brasserie and Cafe Lola have previously been granted parking-space waivers downtown.
A petition in favor of Archie Moore's proposed outdoor dining area was signed by owners or representatives of nearby Captain's Pizza, the Nauti Dolphin, Las Vetas Lounge, Colony Grill, the Fairfield Theatre Company and Old Post Tavern, though that petition doesn't say where the outdoor dining area would be.
Tim and Kim Donnelly, for whom the walkway is named, were murdered Feb. 2, 2005, in their jewelry store at the corner of Post Road and Sanford Street. Christopher DiMeo, who was convicted of the crimes, was sentenced in May 2011 to life in prison without the possibility of release.
In another of the restaurant applications that the ZBA will review, Jamie Cooper, owner of Bonda Restaurant at 1950 Bronson Road, wants to add a 450-square-foot area for outdoor dining that would replace three parking spaces in front of the restaurant's two front windows. Bonda now has 40 seats in the front section of its restaurant and 20 seats in a back area, and the proposed outdoor dining area, which would have 16 seats, would replace seats in the rear when the weather is nice, Cooper said.
"I'd basically be shifting that patron area to the outdoors, and, if it's raining, we would go to the back room," Cooper told the Fairfield Citizen on Wednesday. "We're only equipped to handle 60 people at capacity. We're not equipped to handle 80 people."
Cooper doesn't think adding outdoor dining will cause a parking problem in the small shopping center in lower Greenfield Hill because his restaurant opens at 5 p.m. and only serves dinner.
"We wouldn't be opening till they close," he said of other tenants in the shopping center. "I think we've got enough parking on our side to accommodate it. I'm not really looking to increase patron area."
Cooper needs the ZBA to waive 15 required parking spaces for his proposed outdoor dining area, according to the zoning application.
Bonda opened on Bronson Road in August 2010, and Cooper said his restaurant's done well after the move from Westport.
"I love it up here," he said.
He said he wants to add outdoor dining to bring in customers who like dining al fresco.
A restaurant planned at 1326 Post Road also wants to add outdoor dining, but Selectman James Walsh, the lawyer on the application, hadn't filed the required paperwork for the request in the Zoning Department by Wednesday and didn't return a call for comment. The project, at the corner of Post Road and Unquowa Place, needs the ZBA to waive three required parking spaces.
Walsh also hadn't filed paperwork for the planned expansion of Bodega, a Mexican restaurant in Heritage Square at 1700 Post Road. Bodega's owner is asking the ZBA to approve a waiver of 10 required parking spaces.