Frequenters of Donatos Pizza in Delaware could soon be able to enjoy their food outside with the addition of an outdoor patio to the location at 122 S. Sandusky St. On Wednesday, the Delaware Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit and a development plan exemption for Breaking Bread Real Estate LLC to construct the seasonal patio on the north side of the building.
Proposed is a 640-square-foot patio that would encompass four of the existing parking spaces on the restaurant’s north side. Due to the nature of the existing building, which includes two stories, the structure would be a raised wooden platform that would provide customers with direct access to the restaurant. The patio would provide an additional 24 seats to the restaurant.
To alleviate any parking issues with the loss of four spots, the owner has secured a parking agreement for six spaces to be shared with the property directly north of the restaurant. As part of the proposal, the owner is also planning to restripe the parking lot into a 60-degree orientation that would create additional parking spaces while also improving circulation in the lot. In total, the site would have 46 parking spaces.
Generally, one parking space is required by the city for every two seats in the restaurant, meaning the restaurant would need a total of 51 spaces. With 39 current spaces and the additional 24 patio seats requiring 12 more parking spaces, the restaurant would not meet the required 51 spaces.
However, because the proposal does not fall below 70% of the required spaces, the city was still willing to consider the changes to the parking lot if given sufficient evidence to support the minimal impact the reduced number of spaces would create. It was noted during the discussion that much of the restaurant’s business comes from pickup or delivery orders, as was the fact that the city has never received a complaint about a lack of parking on the site.
Changes to two of the restaurant’s three access points have also been proposed. The northernmost access point, which currently has full access to the site, would become an exit-only access point. The middle full-access point would serve as only an entrance, while the access point south of the restaurant would continue to serve as both an entrance and exit.
For many restaurant owners, the ongoing pandemic has shed light on the importance of offering outdoor seating as an amenity. During the meeting, Planning Commission Chairman Stacy Simpson spoke to the importance of outdoor seating to remain viable under both the current circumstances and in the years to come.
“I think the only thing I would say is I’m in the restaurant business, and I see a lot of demand for patios these days,” Simpson said. “I think patios are going to be a very important amenity during this pandemic and post-pandemic, so I totally understand and respect that.”
Both requests will go before Delaware City Council for first readings at the next meeting, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 14. A second reading and public hearing will be held at the Feb. 28 meeting.