The restaurant at the corner of Water Street and Mill Street in Byram, which is in the Waterfront Business Zone (WB) and Coastal Overlay Zone (COZ), returned on Tuesday before the Greenwich Planning & Zoning commission for permission for a 1,862 square foot deck raised deck for seasonal outdoor dining.
The deck would be behind the restaurant, and have a view of the Byram River.
Since the application first came before the commission, the size of the deck had been reduced from 2752 sq ft. It will be accessed from the main floor, with two means of egress stairs to the parking lot below.
The application initially came in when the restaurant was Macelleria.
Last week a banner stating Under New Management was hung over the building’s facade at 2 South Water Street.
On Wednesday GFP called the restaurant and the person who answered said it is now “George Seafood & Steakhouse.”
But back to the outdoor dining.
The application asked to have 47 outdoor seats seasonally, which means the seven months from April 1 to Nov 1.
The applicant will eliminate the 99 lower level dining seats while outdoor dining is in effect.
“We’ve reduced the size of the raised deck. We’ve addressed issues with the number of seats. We’re not adding seats we’re taking them out of the lower level and putting them on the deck itself,” said Michiel Boender representing the applicant.
The past several days the building’s gray paint was painted over with a cream color.
That unfortunately was problematic for the commission.
“Apparently you changed the color of this building,” said P&Z chair Margarita Alban to Mr. Boender.
“That was unbeknownst to me,” Boender said.
Memos in the P&Z file indicate, “Monochromatic grey and/or limited color palette must be implemented.”
The restaurant is a pre-existing non-conforming use.
The commission has of late been pushing back against proposals in the Waterfront Business Zone that are not water-related such as CNG’s proposal in April on South Water Street to use a property on South Water Street to park its trucks, an industrial use, where now the use is boat storage.
Last fall a proposal to remake the empty former HASCO factory into a self-storage facility on South Water Street was met with some skepticism.
But, per the P&Z applicaiton file, as far back as 1995, the property owner submitted a request for a re-zoning from WB to LBR-2 and for the approval of a CVS drugstore, which was denied.
While there was no public comment Tuesday night on the restaurant outdoor dining application, previously Al Shehadi from the Byram Neighborhood Association testified that the neighborhood association welcomed a vibrant restaurant as long as there was enforcement, given the accumulation of zoning violations at the former Wells Fargo Bank at 21 North Water Street.
Parking is at a premium in the neighborhood, and Mr. Shehadi said the BNA was concerned that without enforcement, the parking issues could spill over into the street.
The commission’s discussion focused on the recent paint job and landscaping.
Mr. Boender for the applicant said they had removed a tree in the parking lot and planted arborvitae on the Mill Street side of the restaurant.
“There still seems to be a lot of asphalt and non-permeable surfaces,” said commissioner Peter Lowe said, who talked about the heat island effect.
The commission approved the deck with conditions, including that the applicant create a curbed planting island in the parking lot, opposite the entrance at the side of the building, and plant a “large deciduous tree” in parking space #43.
The applicant was also asked to submit a landscaping plan indicating all species and quantities of proposed planting materials.
Another condition was that the applicant return to the Architectural Review Committee with color swatches to address the recently unreviewed new paint color prior to zoning permit. They were also asked to submit a photometric plan of all light fixtures and install any shielding necessary to eliminate offsite glare.
Also the applicant was asked to move two wall lighting fixtures lower, and find a more decorative fixture.
As for parking, a total of 48, including 3 ADA spaces were required.
The commission voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the application.