(July 19, 2013) The Ocean City Planning and Zoning Commission discussed the following matters during its July 16 session:
Rooftop Skye Bar
The commission approved a site plan for the Galaxy 66 restaurant to install glass enclosures on its rooftop Skye Bar, hopefully providing a solution to the back-and-forth between the restaurant, the city and the county’s Board of License Commissioners.
Last year, the BLC, which issues and sets conditions on liquor licenses throughout Worcester County, required Galaxy 66 owner Roger Cebula to install sound-proof paneling around his rooftop bar area to cut down on noise after widespread complaints from neighbors. However, the additional enclosed seating area required the restaurant to provide more parking, which Cebula did not have. He was granted a waiver, but told he would not be allowed to do any more work to his building until the deficiency was remedied.
After further complaints this year, the BLC revoked most of the venue’s music and entertainment privileges. As a solution, Cebula proposed to secure parking so that he could fully enclose the roof area and deaden the noise. Space across Coastal Highway was deemed to be inappropriate due to potentially intoxicated patrons crossing the road, but the city agreed to lease the restaurant space in the nearby Public Safety Building parking lot.
“The fact of the matter is that the enclosure would involve 3,200 square feet of enclosed area,” said Zoning Administrator R. Blaine Smith. “Should they not maintain those 32 parking spaces in that arrangement, they would have to dismantle it.”
The sliding glass paneling will mount on tracks anchored on the roof, which covers the central bar and food preparation area.
“There will always be some enclosure because of how the panels stack,” said Cebula’s representative, Harry How of MAD Engineering. “They’re done with glass and do have some sound proofing.”
“The noise issue is between them and the liquor board,” Commissioner Lauren Taylor said.
“But if they’re required by the liquor board to keep it closed at all times, we’re okay with that parking-wise,” Commissioner Peck Miller said.
De Lazy Lizard
The commission approved a site plan for De Lazy Lizard restaurant, on the bayfront at First Street, to construct a pavilion on the northwest corner of the restaurant’s property for additional outdoor seating.
The project would bring the restaurant’s ratio of enclosed-to-unenclosed seating areas to its maximum. Under city code, a restaurant can have a square footage of unenclosed open-air seating less than or equal to its enclosed seating area, without incurring any additional required parking, the theory being that patrons will use the outdoor area more in better weather and the indoor area will go under-burdened for customer parking.
“Under a roof, but open otherwise, is still parking-exempt as long as it doesn’t exceed the gross square footage of the enclosed area,” said Zoning Administrator R. Blaine Smith.
De Lazy Lizard was originally deficient in parking, but has grabbed additional lots in the downtown area in anticipation of continuing expansion.
“Because of the marketplace, they are securing parking in addition to what is required by code,” Smith said.
Because the restaurant is now at its maximum for outdoor seating, Commissioner Peck Miller said the area would have to be scrutinized to make sure there are no additional areas used for customers that would tip the parking scales.
“I’m all for maximizing the use, but it’s another thing for you to have to enforce it or control it,” Miller said.
“[The restaurant] is probably one of the most popular places to go to in the downtown area, and really has become its own destination,” said Ocean City Development Corporation Executive Director Glenn Irwin, who supported the plan.
The commission requested more information on an application by the Marina Deck restaurant, on the bayside of Dorchester Street, to continue its renovation work to include additional seating on its upper floor.
The restaurant began renovating this winter after sustaining some damage from Hurricane Sandy, but the city put a stop work order on the site after it noticed that the renovation would go beyond just fixing the original structure, even though the town had not yet reviewed it.
“What they have not done yet and what they would like to continue on is doing a rooftop bar,” said Zoning Administrator R. Blaine Smith.
The issue with the commission, however, was not the physical design of the roof level itself, which received high praise, but the question of whether or not the expansion would be permitted given that the restaurant is already deficient in parking under current city standards.
“If people are deficient in parking, we aren’t going to make it worse by allowing outside dining,” Commissioner Lauren Taylor said.
Under city code, a restaurant can have a square footage of unenclosed open-air seating less than or equal to its enclosed seating area, without incurring any additional required parking, the theory being that patrons will use the outdoor area more in better weather and the indoor area will go under-burdened for customer parking.
In cases of deficiency, Smith said, it would be appropriate to allow outdoor seating of the same volume as indoor seating that is not parking-deficient. The restaurant has 28 parking spaces on it property, meaning that it could have up to 2,800 square feet of unenclosed dining without needing more spaces, Smith said.
However, it was not clear from the project’s plans what the total area of enclosed and unenclosed seating on the bottom and proposed top floors would be, but it would likely tabulate to more parking than the restaurant has.
“If they want the upstairs, they’re going to have to give the parking,” Commission Chair Pam Buckley said.
Restaurant representative Chris Carbaugh said the property’s owner also has other parking areas which are used for the Marina Deck, but not officially deeded or leased to the restaurant. They could be secured once the final parking requirement is determined, Carbaugh said.
Rentals allowed at 44th Street Watersports
The commission gave a favorable recommendation to an application to allow non-motorized boat rentals at the southwest corner of the 45th Street Shopping Center, near the end of 44th Street.
Mike Hricik, who also operates 48th Street Watersports behind the Bay Princess, will rent kayaks and paddleboards on the bayfront beach and deck area behind the shopping center.
“The wetland in this area is perfect for eco-tours,” Hricik said. “There’s so much marine life there that we can show people.”