TPZ votes down proposal for restaurant rooftop patio
A rooftop patio and a parking waiver were not on the menu for a downtown building, whose owner again sought approval Tuesday from the Town Plan and Zoning Commission.
The commission voted unanimously to deny an application for 1460-1462 Post Road -- former home of Las Vetas Lounge -- to waive 12 parking spaces and allow a seasonal outdoor dining patio on the roof of the building, which owner John Karageorge wants to lease to a restaurant.
For some TPZ members, it was an issue of safety. "The ability for people to be getting drinks and stuff going over the side onto the sidewalk, or people going over the side onto the sidewalk -- it's a safety issue," Commissioner Rich Jacobs said of the site at the busy intersection of Post Road and Sanford Street.
Others commissioners cited the lack of a written parking study for the proposal, although Zoning Director Joseph Devonshuk said it is up to the TPZ to decide whether the information received from applicant Karageorge fulfilled the parking study requirement.
"It really wasn't presented by the applicant," Commissioner Matthew Wagner said. When the applicant was asked about parking, he said, the response was: "There's plenty of municipal parking," Wagner said. "I don't believe we've been presented with any type of study, verbal or otherwise."
Jacobs also said that Karageorge attempted to get a parking waiver from the Zoning Board of Appeals, but was denied. "I don't like the idea that people are shopping commissions," he said.
Commissioner James Kennelly was willing to approve the application. "Let's look at this as planners," he said. Would waiving the 12 parking spaces, he said, have such a significant impact on parking downtown that it would negate any positive impact on the area's nightlife.
Kennelly said he would think differently if the waiver were for a larger number of parking spaces.
"In my opinion, a study is always a written study," Commissioner Douglas Soutar said of the parking survey. "On the other hand, it's a proposed use in a building that has no parking at all.
Karageorge can re-apply for the approval at any time, commissioners indicated, although it was clear if a new application were to be submitted, they want a formal parking study.
Karageorge has said the rooftop patio is necessary to attract a "quality" client to the building. Parking, according to his plans, is available on the street, as well as nearby at the downtown railroad station and at Sherman Green.
In his months-long quest to win approval for plans to renovate the property, Karageorge has been granted ZBA approval for a second-story on the building for storage and office space. That panel, however, also denied the plan for a rooftop patio.