Outdoor patio approved for Oscar's Woodmont Kitchen

Oscar’s Woodmont Kitchen, 178-186 Hillside Ave., is getting an outdoor patio, following Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) approval on June 6.

Differences of opinion about having even low-key music on the patio divided the board, which approved the proposal by a narrow 5-4 vote, granting a special permit and site plan approval for the 2,700 square foot restaurant located on a 0.21-acre lot.

Richard Jurzyk and Frank Basile told the board they are the new owners of the restaurant, and also operate the Bridge House Restaurant at 49 Bridgeport Ave. in Devon. Jurzyk said the patio would have 34 seats on the Merwin Avenue side of the property.

City Planner David B. Sulkis told the board the business is a pre-existing, nonconforming use. The property is in the Business District (BD) zone, adjoining an R-5 zone.

Sulkis said the patio would require bollards installed at three-foot intervals. He said the board did not have the option of finding area parking as adequate, saying, “there is no opportunity for other parking.” The restaurant has a small parking lot and street parking is limited in the immediate area.

In response to board questions about lighting on the patio and Sulkis’ comments on parking, Jurzyk said there are no plans to add any lighting to the exterior of the building, adding, “I am not aware of any complaints about parking.”

Basile said the patio would have low-level music to buffer restaurant patrons from the sound of passing motor vehicles. He said there are no plans to have musicians play outside. He said they have music at the Bridge House and it is not an issue with neighbors.

“We are talking about a small patio with speakers on the wall,” said Jurzyk.

Board members Richard Lutz and Richard Varrone both said they are opposed to having music on the patio. Lutz said Oscar’s is in a different neighborhood than the Bridge House, which is located on Route 1. Varrone said he is concerned the board has no control over the volume of the music.

In response, Jurzyk said, “We have been operating the Bridge House for 10 years and if we were to get out of control, it would not be good for business. We want to play music, but we can’t have no music.”

Commenting on the Hillside Avenue location, Jurzyk said, “There is a substantial amount of distance between us and the residential area.”

Responding to Jurzyk, Lutz said, “I live near this restaurant and I have heard complaints about people leaving the restaurant and they are too loud.”

Sulkis said the zoning staff does not have equipment to measure noise levels. The city of Milford does not have a noise ordinance.

Responding to Jurzyk, Varrone said, “The board understands you want to create music at a reasonable level. We have to look at how it affects the neighborhood long term.”

One resident spoke in favor of the patio, while three expressed concern. Christopher Rockett of 185 Seaside Ave. said, “It sounds like he will do everything he can to keep the noise reasonable.”

Carlos Pardese of 7 Edgefield Ave. praised Jurzyk and Basile, saying, “They are doing a great job with the restaurant.” However,  Pardese said his bedroom is directly across from the restaurant and he can hear people having conversations outside the restaurant. He said there should be limits on the noise, and the music should end at a certain time.

Sonya Goldberg of 5 Edgefield Ave., said she has lived there for 84 years, and questioned why neighbors did not get letters about the public hearing, and expressed concern about the parking situation.

“They will not have sufficient parking. Parking is a big issue for the residents,” said Goldberg.

In response to her question, Sulkis said the applicant is not required to send letters because it is not a zone change.

William Goldberg of 5 Edgefield Ave. expressed concern about the noise and that the restaurant was adding 34 patio seats to its 110 interior seats, saying there is not sufficient parking.

“There is always noise from people going to their cars. There is no way to buffer the noise, said Goldberg. “They can’t park on Hillside and there is not a lot of parking on Edgefield.”

In response, Jurzyk said the interior has been changed, reducing the number of seats to 80. He said the patio does not necessarily mean more business because people will choose to sit outside, rather than inside. Jurzyk said the patio does not reduce any of the restaurant’s parking.

In making the motion to approve, board member Jim Quish said, “I don’t foresee a couple of speakers being intrusive. I think it’s a great addition to the beach down there.” Quish amended the motion to include prohibiting bands and karaoke singing, upon the suggestion of board member Carl S. Moore.