It appears Stingray Sushi Bar and Asian Latino Grill will finally get its patio.
A three-justice Delaware Supreme Court panel has upheld the Superior Court’s ruling in Stingray’s favor in its case against the Rehoboth Beach Board of Adjustment.
In a Dec. 9 ruling, justices Carolyn Berger, Jack Jacobs and Henry duPont Ridgely said Stingray did not require a permit of compliance to build a 720-square foot outdoor patio.
Stingray attorney John Paradee said, “My client and I are pleased and grateful that the courts have vindicated our position. It is terribly unfortunate that the city took a contrary position, particularly so given that the code provision at issue seemed so abundantly clear.”
Paradee said Stingray owner Darius Mansoory has already applied with the Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission for a patio license. Mansoory did not respond to requests for comment.
This ends a case that has been in the Delaware courts, and briefly U.S. District Court of Delaware, for more than two years. Stingray has been fighting for a patio since 2010, when it first went to the city about its plans. Told it would need a permit of compliance to build the patio, Stingray went before the city commissioners to get a permit and was denied.
One year later, Stingray went before the board of adjustment, where Mansoory argued that because Stingray was grandfathered, the restaurant did not need a permit of compliance. The board denied Mansoory’s request for a variance and then denied a rehearing of the case. Stingray appealed the case to Delaware Superior Court. The case took a brief detour into U.S. District Court when Paradee raised issues of due process, but he later dropped those claims and the case moved back to Superior Court.
The city fought the case, saying Stingray was attempting to circumvent the zoning code. The city also disagreed with Stingray's assertion that the patio was not an extension of the existing restaurant. Stingray is a grandfathered, nonconforming structure, but any extensions of the existing restaurant must be made to comply with the current zoning code.
However, on Feb. 28, Judge E. Scott Bradley ruled in Stingray’s favor, saying the restaurant did not need a permit of compliance and that the patio was not an extension of the existing building. Rehoboth attorney Dan Griffith appealed Bradley’s ruling to Supreme Court.
Griffith did not respond for comment.