Ocean View P&Z recommends restaurant waiting-area ordinance to council

The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission met recently to unanimously recommend that an ordinance amending the Land Use and Development Code of the town by restricting the use of outdoor seating areas and providing for “waiting-area bars” in restaurants. The bars would not be permitted to offer live entertainment and music, and service would end at 11 p.m.

Rick McGee, former owner of Libby’s restaurant and Smitty McGee’s, spoke on behalf of the ordinance, stating that he is interested in taking over the Royal Zephyr restaurant in Ocean View, which has been vacant for a few years.

“I think it has the ability to make money,” said McGee of the former train-themed restaurant. “It could become something of a landmark, rather than an eyesore.”

McGee said that, for a restaurant to be successful, a patron waiting area is needed.

“If I’m a single person and I want to go out to eat, I don’t want to sit at a table by myself. I want to sit at a bar. These days, that’s pretty much socially acceptable,” he added.

The commission voted unanimously to recommend the ordinance to the town council.

The commission this week also reviewed a site plan submitted by the Ocean View Historical Society, requesting to place the town’s old post office building and move it onto a permanent foundation.

Since October of last year, the post office building has resided on the property where the Tunnell-West house stands, leased by the historical society from the town.

Jeff Clark, a landscape architect representing the society, said that the OVHS not only wants to permanently move the structure, so as to begin restoration, but also due to safety concerns.

“There is some concern as we are coming into the hurricane season,” he said of the building being less stable on its temporary foundation.

Public Works Director Charlie McMullen stated in his report that the post office building would be moved to the east of where it currently stands, but not significantly so.

The commission unanimously approved the society’s request.