Clear Space Theatre Company isn’t the only proposed project dealing with parking issues in Rehoboth.
During the March 8 planning commission meeting, city Building Inspector Damalier Molina said Agave has pulled out of building its new restaurant on Rehoboth Avenue because the proposed structure has a gross floor area of 10,000 square feet, which triggers parking requirements that had not been accounted for.
City code requires one parking space for every 400 square feet of gross floor area if a restaurant has a gross floor area of 10,000 square feet or greater. That would mean, Agave would need 25 parking spaces.
City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas quickly clarified Molina’s statement. “I wouldn’t say pulled out. It’s not worked out, yet,” he said. “There are some significant issues we’re working through.”
The owners of the proposed restaurant, Chris McKeown and Mike Firetti, were given a permit of compliance by Rehoboth commissioners during a meeting in December. Molina prepared a report for that meeting that said the restaurant at 230 Rehoboth Ave. would have 1,100 square feet of dining area on the first floor and 801 square feet on the second floor. Additionally, the report said, there will be a three-season, 750-square-foot outdoor patio on the second floor. The restaurant’s gross floor area will be 10,000 square feet – 5,707 on the first and 4,293 on the second, said the report.
During the recent planning commission meeting, Molina said the question was if the patio should be counted toward gross floor area, and, he said, in his opinion it should be because the patio is essentially a deck.
Also during the December meeting, commissioners agreed to enter into a licensing agreement with the owners of the property, 232 Rehoboth Avenue LLC, for the placement of the trash dumpsters and propane tanks in enclosures on city property immediately behind the restaurant on Wilmington Avenue. That portion of Wilmington Avenue is a one-way alley.
There is a discussion and possible approval of the licensing agreement scheduled for the commissioner meeting Friday, March 15.
Firetti said March 10 he would wait to comment on the parking issue until after the commissioners approve or deny the licensing agreement.
“We view this license vote as a formality and have relied heavily upon what was stated, and we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars since December 2018 in preparations,” said Firetti.