Planning Commission approves restaurant expansion

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The New Prague Planning and Zoning Commission dealt with expansion at its Wednesday, July 5, meeting, as it discussed an addition to the Classic Grille & Bar.

Representing the business at 825 First Street SE were Jeff Weiers, one of the owners, and Bob Rataj, manager of the restaurant. They were asking to build a 21 by 36.4-foot addition and a 14 by 20-foot addition to the south side of the building. One addition would expand the bar area, allowing for two pool tables and space for darts, while the other would make room for additional freezer space and the enclosure of the garbage and recycling area that is currently outside. The addition is to help bring in business, such as members of the local pool leagues.

The business was requesting the planning commission to allow its conditional use permit to be reopened so it could be amended.

Residents who live near the area had some questions about the expansion. Vern Oraskovich asked if there would be live music and Gordon Carlson wanted to know if there were any plans to make another patio, since the addition would take out the existing one.

Weiers and Rataj said the only time they would have live music would be during special occasions such as Dozinky. As for another patio, they were looking at the possibility of a deck on the east side of the building.

Commission member Bob Gilman wondered if the addition would make parking in the area more difficult. He felt that adding pool tables would result in adding more seats for customers.

Rataj said the addition would replace the current patio and they would be removing about 15 outdoor seats.

New Prague City Planner Renee Christianson said there is adequate parking for the restaurant. City staff did recommend adding windows and an awning to the plan.

The commission unanimously recommended approval of the addition.

Sayler request

The commission unanimously recommended approval of a conditional use permit for a shop and garage along Highways 13/21.

Greg Sayler was requesting the permit. He had purchased the property that had once been Delrose Tool and Die. Sayler had torn down the majority of the old building and plans to build a new structure on the site. The new building would be 44 feet deep by 54 feet wide. Only the garage remains from the old building.

Ken Ondich, New Prague City Planner felt there should be some changes to the proposed building to make it look more like a business than a garage. It was recommended that a row of bricks be placed along the bottom of the building, windows be placed along the front of the building and on the garage door.

A public hearing was held for the permit with no one present to offer any opinions.

The commission had concerns about a variance needed for the building and the old structure. The rear of the building would go into the setback for a wetland behind the property. Staff was recommending the variance not be granted. Without the variance, the building would have to be changed.

Sayler said if the building could be moved forward he would gladly tear down the old garage section. He would also add an awning above the door into the building. He felt the area was the perfect property for a small business.

To allow the building to be moved forward, a variance would have to be granted for the front half of it since it would go into the setback from the street.

Deck variance recommended

The commission unanimously recommended approval of a variance for a deck to be built in the yard of Robert and Marcia Sammons.

The couple, who live at 310 Central Ave. N, want the deck to be 13 feet wide by 18 feet deep and a five-foot portion would run alongside the house. That would lead to a new door into the home to accommodate the couple’s son who uses a wheelchair. The deck would go into the setbacks for the front, rear and side property lines.

The home pre-dates the current zoning regulations for the city. The lot is also smaller than other lots in the city.

There is an area where a deck could be built and meet setback requirements, but it would require removal of a large tree from the yard. City staff recommended approving the variance, saying it was a reasonable request.

All actions taken by the commission are advisory and are subject to approval by the New Prague City Council. The council’s next meeting is Monday, July 17.

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