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Outdoor Dining Area at Warwick Place Shot Down

A request for an outdoor dining area at Warwick Place was denied Tuesday night.

A request for an outdoor dining area adjacent to the expected to open on the first floor of sometime next year was narrowly shot down by the Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday night.

The meeting drew a small crowd of abutting residents and business owners to the Selectmen's Meeting Room of , many of whom were on hand to speak out against the proposed 40-seat outdoor dining area because they feared it would mean loud nights and limited parking.

Local attorney Paul Lynch presented the recently-updated building design, which called for changes to the building's facade, and sought to avoid adding three more parking spaces to the rear of the building to accommodate the additional patrons.

"When we were here for a special permit on the parking, one of the reasons this board determined it was appropriate was because we were providing much more parking than any other (business) in the area," Lynch said. "And also because we directly abut Roundhouse Road, which is owned by the town and has 100 parking spaces."

Among the most vocal opponents to the outdoor dining area was Chip Percy, co-owner of the , who wondered where the additional 40 patrons and restaurant employees were going to park.

"I think it's a wonderful idea, the movie theater and the restaurant, but where do they think they're going to put the extra 40 people? Drive through there on a Friday or Saturday night now and there's no parking for a half-mile" Percy said, adding, "I have tenants there at 275 Washington - how long and how late are they going to be able to serve out there? The noise factor is a real concern."

Also speaking out against the proposal was Petrisse Briel, owner of , located directly across the street from the 38,000-square-foot building, who said two of her tenants have already moved away because of the noise caused by the building project.

"This is Marblehead. It's not downtown Boston and it's not Lynn and I do think it's a great idea but I think people have to be mindful of where they are putting this," Briel said. "Just because someone can afford a $20 million building in the middle of a tiny little town doesn't mean that everybody that calls it home should be displaced by it."

After unanimously approving changes to the building's facade, board members held a separate vote on the outdoor dining area. The request would have needed four affirmative votes to pass and it was only able to gain the support of three of the board's five members.

Board members Paige Hintlian, Leon Drachman and Bruce Krasker voted in favor of the proposal. Chairman William R. Moriarty and Bob Schaeffner voted against the plan.

is expected to open in early 2013 and will likely be home to a , mini-theater for business conferences, a , a retail establishment and small offices.

Click through the photos attached to this post for a closer look at the building's recently-updated floor plan.

Missy Scarlet July 25, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Regarding Mr. Lynch's observation that "we were providing much more parking than any other (business) in the area," well, duh: there are no other 38,000SF buildings in the immediate area and they would not have the need for so much parking. Also, a quick check on the Internet shows that 140-150 parking spaces seems to be the usual amount of parking for mixed commercial 38,000 SF buildings-apparently someone was asleep at the wheel when the already too-small lot was approved. To depend on Roundhouse Rd. is ridiculous: the parking there is already full all day long other than perhaps the COMMERCIAL ONLY spaces that are mostly used at night. Check out how much parking the National Grand Bank has provided-then take a look at the size of their business-and their lots are almost always full. Dollar signs in our official's eyes seem to blind common sense. Thankfully a bit of common sense made it through last night for some Board members. I am not at all against commercial interests in the area-I'd just like to see proper management of what we have, and a little recognition that people actually do LIVE in the business district.
Jannie July 25, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Late nights? Everything closes in Marblehead by 11.
Sarah Morison July 25, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I think that a spacious outdoor eating venue with good food would be pleasurable for the residents of our not-so "tiny" (20,000) town. This is in the heart of the business district -- if not there, where? Opposing testimony by a geographically close and competitive restaurant owner would seem to be biased ... I hope this issue is revisited more favorably in the future.
Marty McFly July 25, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I agree with everything you have just stated.
HLS July 25, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I suppose if those extra 40 people were headed toward the 3 Cod, it would be okay to Mr. Percy. Perhaps, as Sarah stated, the town should hear from someone a little less bias
louise July 25, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I completely agree. Well said.
Don Davies July 25, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Sarah Morrison is right on. Most people who choose to live in a crowded busy section with bars and restaurfants expect some noise. Marblehead is pretty dead, except for a fdew busy restaurants at dinner time. Boards and Committes need to look past the usual, inevitable NIMBY opposition to almost anything new. Don Davies .
Oldtown July 25, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I'm excited that the ZBA finally shot something down. It's about time. They have let anything and everything go through for years. Most of the new buildings put up in the past 15 years in this town have required a variance or a special permit because they don't comply with zoning rules...and ZBA has always rolled over. What do we end up with? Over-built lots, both commercial and residential. The longer we fail to reign this in, the faster this town loses its charm. Eventually, we just become Salem, or Beverly, or Swampscott, or Lynn. Yuck!
Oldtown July 25, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Oh, and don't throw Chip under the bus. He made valid points.
SK August 09, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Having a theater in Marblehead will tie together a destination for the North Shore- Being able to come to Marblehead for the day to sightsee and shop, and then have dinner and a show and dessert has got to do good things for our local economy (Lord knows we need it - look at the storefronts). I remember how pleasant it was to walk to the old Warwick and see a show. We need to see the forest , rather than the trees here. It would be a real shame if the developer could not make it work. The ZBA needs to have some foresight and see the good a theater will bring and then work with the developer to make it happen- Hopefully compromises on both sides will lead to a win for Marbleheaders

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