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Lakewood moves forward with expanded outdoor seating plans while Rocky River luxury living project starts

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Posted at 2:28 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 16:40:53-04

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Lakewood City Council adopted a resolution allowing businesses to apply for expanded outdoor dining at restaurants and bars.

“I think I can say on behalf of everybody that this was a great step in the right direction for our dining establishments to have more options to protect their customers and protect their workers and we have more on the way,” said City Council President Dan O’Malley near the conclusion of the more than two-hour discussion.

Businesses can apply for additional outdoor dining space in places like parking lots, public right-of-ways, for up to 30 additional seats. Businesses can apply for additional space for more than 30 additional seats if the applicant can show they can follow Ohio Department of Health orders.

On-street parking is not yet allowed to be used for these temporary outdoor spaces so City Council can further consider how to use “parklets.” Mayor George pointed out that it’s unclear if restaurants would be able to serve food or drinks in those spaces.

Plans will be reviewed by the Mayor’s Administration with additional consideration possible from the Architectural Board of Review.

If plans involve some kind of additional structure, like a tent, the Planning Commission would have to consult with the property safety or building officials within seven days before approving the plan.

Plans will be reviewed by the Mayor’s Administration with additional consideration possible from the Architectural Board of Review.

“We’re going to turn these things around, and we would never sit on something like that,” said Lakewood Chief Tim Dunphy.

If plans involve some kind of additional structure, like a tent, the Planning Commission would have to consult with the property safety or building officials within seven days before approving the plan.

The new spaces will be allowed to stay in place until October 31, 2020 and may need barriers to protect patrons from traffic.

Thursday, the City of Lakewood decided to interpret the resolution to allow businesses to request the closure of an entire road, simplifying the process to potentially close entire streets.

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If Lakewood City Council approves a resolution allowing expanded outdoor dining for restaurants at a special meeting tonight, Council member Jason Shachner tells News 5 “restaurants can expand their outdoor dining as fast as the Planning Commission can approve their plans.”

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Lakewood City Council could allow restaurant owners to ask for permission to use street parking and parking lots as outdoor service areas in an attempt to help them recover from the coronavirus economic downturn.

The move comes as communities all over Northeast Ohio try to help local businesses, bars, and restaurants recover from large interruptions in business created by the coronavirus.

Lakewood’s plan would, “relax the requirements and regulations for restaurants seeking conditional use permits for outdoor dining,” Council member Shachner wrote to News 5 in an email. “The resolution would allow for approval of seating in parking lots, further into the public right of way, and into on-street parking.”

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It will take additional work with Mayor George's Administration to shut down entire streets for outdoor service.

He says he anticipates the Planning Commission meeting more often to accommodate requests from Lakewood restaurants.

At the same time, Lakewood City Council is also asking Mayor Meghan George to, “identify sections of Madison Avenue and Detroit Avenue, and intersecting side streets that can be dead ended, to close to vehicle traffic that would allow for the greatest benefit to our local bars and restaurants,” according to a Council letter to Mayor George on May 18.

700 Lake luxury condos and townhomes breaks ground despite COVID delays

Carney Brickhaus Partners broke ground on the luxury condominium and townhome project, 700 Lake, in Rocky River.

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John M. Carney (center) holds a shovel at the 700 Lake groundbreaking between Andrew Brickman (right) and Michael Carney (left)

The original groundbreaking was scheduled for March 18, but was canceled because of social distancing guidelines put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.

The first phase of the project will bring eight townhomes and a condo building with 25 units.

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A rendering looking back from Lake Erie shows the planned pool and condo building.

Andrew Brickman of Brickhaus Partners tells News 5 the estimated completion date for the roughly $30 million project was originally spring 2021. Now that the start of construction has been delayed at least three to four months, he says the project could take until the fall of 2021 to finish.

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The Brickhaus team at the groundbreaking for 700 Lake.

He says the pandemic has made construction more challenging because of limitations on how many workers can be on a site at the same time.

The townhomes are expected to start at about $700,000 with the condos costing around $1 million.

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A rendering from the road shows townhomes at the front of the property.

Phase two of the project is still in the planning stages and will include land where single family homes are currently standing.

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A panoramic picture of the site shows the location of the condos in the foreground, townhomes to the right, and the homes that Brickhaus is purchasing for future development to the top-left of the picture.

County property records show Brickhaus has already purchased some properties. Brickman says the company is in the process of acquiring the others.

See News 5 Cleveland's previous coverage of the rental and for-sale markets here.