Taproom alcove abused as ‘restroom, trash receptacle’


One of 2016’s newly opened downtown businesses seeks comment from the Delaware Historic Preservation Commission on one way to prevent abuse at its entrance.

Olivina Taproom, 44 S. Sandusky St., opened last fall and sells premium olive oils, vinegars and related accessories. But the front corner of the building’s inset entrance, which consists of the entry ways for the business and a second-floor apartment, has been vandalized as a “restroom and trash receptacle,” despite the area being lighted and having two security cameras, according to a staff report.

“Due to recent incidents, we would like to install a security gate,” said Chris Schobert, Olivina’s owner, in an application to the Delaware Planning & Community Development Department. “… We would require it to be mounted within the entry, attached to both sides of the entrance.”

He proposes a split-fold, iron gate with a key lock and would be four feet, six inches tall.

The improper use of the storefront’s alcove has been an ongoing issue for years, according to the staff report. It said: “The applicant indicated he has notified the police department of trespassers into the storefront area; and the police department has committed to increase patrols in the area.”

Staff was concerned about the aesthetics of a locked gate across a downtown storefront, although the city’s architectural standards appear not to address gated features on buildings. Due to public safety and code requirements, the gate would need to be open during business hours and locked at night.

But tenants or visitors on the second floor must be able to exit the gate without special knowledge or the operation of a key, according to the report.

“There must be an ADA-accessible lever-type or push pad on the inside that releases the locked gate in the case of an emergency,” the report said, in reference to Americans with Disabilities Act. “As submitted, the proposed gate lock design would not be acceptable since someone can simply reach around through the open pickets and open the gate.”

The report said other recommendations were made, but were not agreeable for all parties including the tenants and property owner.

There are two lockable iron gates in the downtown area. One is a private alley gate between 5 and 9 E. William St., and the other is a private entrance for apartments above 24 to 26 N. Sandusky St.

The commission will meet at City Hall, 1 S. Sandusky St., 7 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers.

By Brandon Klein

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Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

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