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Council approves special land use for new Mediterranean restaurant

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 9, 2016

FERNDALE — The Ferndale City Council unanimously approved a special land use permit at its July 25 meeting for a new restaurant that will be installed at 23250 Woodward Ave.

The permit is for a quick-to-serve Mediterranean restaurant that will take the place of the former B&L Automotive.

The special land use application is for a seasonal outdoor property that will be located at the front of the building as part of the renovation of the existing building. Inside the restaurant will be a service counter and limited seating.

“It’s at the front of the property, facing Woodward, formerly where cars would pull in and park, and there’s a few curb cuts there,” City Planner Justin Lyons said during the meeting. “Instead, the applicant’s proposing to improve that area with six picnic tables, decorative fencing around there that would continue around the back of the building, and then also some greenery to beautify.”

“The applicant had a good application and think they’re a good use for that building,” Mayor Pro Tem Melanie Piana told the Woodward Talk. “We’re welcoming of all diverse restaurants to come to Ferndale.”

Piana said the space is a relatively “low-impact use,” comparing that to how residents were concerned about liquor establishments.

“In relation to that, they’re not selling liquor as part of the restaurant menu,” she said.

One concern that came up during the meeting was about the restaurant’s parking and the limited areas for patrons to park. It was mentioned that the new restaurant and the nearby New York Bagel were trying to work out a deal to share some parking space.

“As the representative on the Planning Commission, the shared-parking agreement was a key piece in our discussion around the use of that property,” Councilman Dan Martin said during the meeting. “When we do take a look at this, I would add a formal condition on here … that the shared-parking agreement that is executed would be filed with the city and register of deeds.

“I would like some assurances as well around the shared agreement,” he said.

A resident expressed concerns about possible trash leaving the area of the restaurant and making its way down the street.

“Where the seating area is on Woodward, and not the whole front of the building would be seating, it stands like almost half of it’s fenced off, so people will be sitting inside, and even if they leave the trash there, it’s not going to go to the street,” owner Evet Bitti said at the meeting.

“It will stay enclosed in that area,” Bitti said.

Piana said the resident concerns about parking are valid and that the city is trying to be creative in addressing that with shared parking, and trying to add spaces where possible. She said she wasn’t too concerned with trash flying off the property, as the city has other restaurants with similar patios that haven’t been a problem.

“I’ve never heard of a business with an outdoor café where trash is spilling into our side streets,” she said. “That would be a problem.”