If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Or, in Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub owner Ed Chiles’ case, add a few more “tries” to that old adage.
Chiles has submitted yet another application —his fourth — that’s coming before the Planning and Zoning Board at 9 a.m. Sept. 17, at Town Hall. The application eliminates a controversial plan to restore the historic Rufus P. Jordan House.
Instead, Chiles is attempting to move forward with building a tree house and adding 11 seats to his restaurant. If approved, the restaurant’s seating would rise from 169 seats to 180 seats.
Also for the planning board’s review later this month is a plan to redesign the existing onsite parking to alleviate Longbeach Village residents’ parking congestion concerns. Residents say cars clog Broadway and other residential Village streets during season.
In June, Chiles initially asked the planning board to review the application without the Jordan House, but rescinded it after receiving complaints from residents who were away for the summer and couldn’t attend the public hearing.
Bradenton-based LTA Engineers sent a letter to Planning, Zoning and Building Director Robin Meyer dated June 11 that stated: “On behalf of our client, we feel it is necessary at this point to seek wise legal counsel in order to appropriately address the issues that have been brought to the town by concerned residents.”
Residents of the Village, though, are still concerned about the revised plan.
Thirty-three residents signed a June 10 letter to the Longboat Key Town Commission, Planning and Zoning Board and town officials opposing the expansion.
The letter states: “Please see firsthand the existing congestion and impact in peak season. The Village cannot tolerate the patrons the Mar Vista has at present — more is unreasonable.”
In May, residents packed Town Hall to oppose a plan that also called for adding a meeting room and a small deck in the historic Jordan House that could be used for private parties.
The old house is currently used for storage, and Chiles had plans to utilize it for patrons.
Village residents expressed concern that the restaurant’s total maximum occupancy capacity (either sitting or standing) could reach 331 total possible patrons if the meeting space were utilized.
Chiles, though, said the 331 number is one he would never have come close to exceeding. Chiles said he would never put more than 60 people in the meeting space, and if the restaurant were full in season, he had no intention of scheduling gatherings in the meeting room at the same time.
The controversy, though, prompted Chiles to rescind an application with the Jordan House’s use that the Town Commission approved on first reading May 6. Chiles also canceled the Fourth of July fireworks and the annual Fish Fry event.
He’s previously submitted three separate site-plan amendments and hopes this fourth amendment will be approved.
“We’ve heard the concerns of the residents,” Chiles said. “We’re ready to move forward.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].