The Lodge Pub & Eatery looking to expand outside

The Lodge Pub & Eatery looking to expand outside

LINCOLN – The Lodge Pub & Eatery in Lincoln has applied to the town for permission to enlarge the restaurant’s outdoor deck.

The Lodge was one of three applicants to come before the Lincoln Zoning Board of Review on June 1, seeking a dimensional variance to build the deck.

The property owner, David Lahousse, is seeking 16 feet of relief. The deck would be about 24 feet off the property line, short of Lincoln’s required 40 feet.

Lahousse said the restaurant industry endured a lot of challenges last year, and said they were lucky that the town allowed outdoor dining.

The issue, he said, is that patrons at The Lodge “are sitting on parking lots that are all crooked. I really don’t have a flat spot anywhere near that building.”

He said expanding the deck would necessarily add additional seating, since people are likely to sit outdoors on a nice day and inside when the weather is bad. It would provide another space for guests, he said, and pandemic or not, the trend in the industry is moving outdoors.

“I don’t think it’s going to go away anytime soon, if it ever goes away,” he said, adding that patrons will still be fairly spaced out. “Most people don’t want to be sitting on top of people anymore.”

The board had some questions on the way measurements were taken (with a tape measure), and members agreed that they didn’t feel comfortable voting without the exact measurements calculated via a site survey.

That way, Zoning Board Chairman David DeAngelis said, the board can assure that the applicant is requesting the least amount of relief necessary.

The application was continued to next month, giving the restaurant more time to submit a more detailed site plan.

Also during the June 1 meeting, Jeffrey Castle applied for dimensional variance, seeking front setback relief for the construction of a new house on property located on Twin River Road.

The application was continued from April, when DeAngelis said the “amount of relief needed due to DEM restrictions on the lot were a little loose as far as how those calculations were concluded,” and that there was no communication between the applicant and the Department of Environmental Management regarding buffers or setbacks.

Castle said the RIDEM denied his application, as it was not complete. Things are bogged down by the pandemic, he said, asking whether the board could provide more time.

Town Solicitor Tony DeSisto recommended that Castle get approval from the RIDEM “to see if this lot is buildable” before coming back before the Zoning Board, suggesting Castle withdraw and reapply.

The board also heard from Arthur Cimini of 1 Paul St., who has applied for a special use permit seeking approval for a residential-scale, ground-mount solar panel system in his yard.

Cimini is hoping to build two rows of ten solar panels behind his home, noting that his electric bill is more than $500 a month with five people living in his home.

“My bill is just getting too outrageous. It just seems to go up every month,” he said.

Cimini said his property is barely visible from the street.

The Zoning Board voted to approve the application, conditioned on the proper permits.