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Variance hearing for Parryville's Riverwalck Saloon continued to next year

  • Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS One of the variance requests of Riverwalck Saloon owner Mark Stemler is to retain the archway at the entrance of the parking lot. Stemler maintains that the archway controls traffic and should stay.
    Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS One of the variance requests of Riverwalck Saloon owner Mark Stemler is to retain the archway at the entrance of the parking lot. Stemler maintains that the archway controls traffic and should stay.
Published November 18. 2010 05:00PM

Attorney Carole Walbert, legal representative for Mark Stemler, owner of Riverwalck Saloon, 8 Centre St., Parryville, spent the better part of two hours Wednesday night laying the groundwork for approval from the Parryville Zoning Hearing Board for special exceptions from the zoning ordinance.

Testifying in her client's defense were John Reda of Associated Drafting and Design of Kunkletown and Rudy Wolff of Keystone Consulting Engineers, Kresgeville.

Reda testified that he has experience designing hospitality structures and that he measured the outside of the building and calculated the number of seats, elevations and potential occupancy of the restaurant. He noted that the building complies with the International Building Code enacted in 2006. He said he believes that the structure can seat 80 people on the first floor and 100 on the second floor, plus there is outdoor seasonal seating for 240 people on the decks.

According to his testimony, the restaurant and outdoor buildings and their heights comply with the Parryville Zoning Ordinance. He also testified about the location and uses of the outdoor buildings, which are accessory uses and are used primarily for storage and outdoor parking.

He noted that he believed that one of the structures was used to detail vehicles.

Reda noted that the first time he looked at the building was Jan. 15, 2010, but the drawings were started quite a while before that.

Attorney Michael Greek, legal representative for Parryville Borough, asked whether Reda had drawn up plans before the construction and wondered if he had taken into consideration the deck areas in his calculation.

Reda noted that the decks are not part of the structure, but are impervious to water, so they were excluded from his calculations.

The second witness was Wolff, who explained that he has extensive background as a registered land surveyor. He testified that he was engaged by Stemler in August 2008 to survey Riverwalck and provide erosion and sedimentation control on Frank Hager's property, which is adjacent to Riverwalck property. The property had been used by customers as overflow parking for the restaurant.

Wolff said he prepared the site plan for the 1-1/2 acre lot where the restaurant is located. The property frontage borders Route 248 and the side entrance is on a spur route from Route 248. Wolff testified that the restaurant meets side, front and back yard requirements and that less than 70 percent of the lot is covered by a structure. He noted that the two out buildings on the property also meet yard set back requirements. He also said that currently there are 65 auto parking spaces and potential for 40 motorcycle parking spaces if one of the structures is removed from the property. Currently there are 11 motorcycle parking spaces.

Wolff noted that the log structure archway is four feet on the road right-of-way, but does not interfere with sight distances.

He also noted that the truck that has a Riverwalck sign painted on it is for advertising purposes only and is one foot high by six feet long. He noted that there are arrows painted on the road to direct traffic. Wolff said the archway is substantial and is used to control traffic.

Asking a question that had not been discussed by the two witnesses was Greg Hopstock, who is a member of the zoning hearing board. Hopstock questioned Wolff about the septic system. He asked if there was any information available.

Wolff said that he had not examined the septic system and had not done any excavating. He said that he understands that the septic system is under grass and a gravel walkway.

Walbert asked to have the meeting adjourned before 9 p.m. and asked for a continuance. She noted that because of the impending holidays, the next meeting may not be scheduled until some time in January.

According to a legal notice published in the TIMES NEWS relating to this meeting, Stemler was seeking approval for several special exceptions from the zoning ordinance relating to set backs and footage, parking requirements, allowing usage of decks/porches seasonally, a variance from dimensional requirements for parking spaces, a variance to eliminate the off-street loading space additional requirement, plus to convert one of the outbuildings to a garage and storage facility. He also wants to add attic space in one of the secondary outbuildings and seeks a variance to modify the structure. He also seeks a variance to convert a second outbuilding to allow the building to be used for covered parking and storage and to convert the second building from residential use to covered motorcycle parking and storage.

Stemler also seeks a variance to permit the entryway to remain because it controls the flow of traffic and access to the premises, plus seeks a variance from the sign setback.

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