Maggie’s Cafe plans to expand, build parking lot

East Tor­res­dale res­id­ents offered an oft-ma­ligned neigh­bor­hood res­taur­ant and nightclub their sup­port last week as they voted to al­low the busi­ness to ex­pand its foot­print.

Mag­gie’s Wa­ter­front Cafe, at 9242 N. Delaware Ave., will ab­sorb two ad­join­ing res­id­en­tial prop­er­ties and con­struct a paved, 25-space park­ing lot un­der plans de­tailed dur­ing a Feb. 11 meet­ing of the East Tor­res­dale Civic As­so­ci­ation.

Zon­ing at­tor­ney Shawn Ward, who rep­res­ents Mag­gie’s, told neigh­bors that the de­vel­op­ment plans hinge on wheth­er the busi­ness can ob­tain five city zon­ing vari­ances re­gard­ing land use and con­fig­ur­a­tion. The city’s Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment re­cog­nizes the ETCA as the re­gistered civic as­so­ci­ation for the neigh­bor­hood, so the group’s en­dorse­ment is ex­pec­ted to weigh heav­ily in the ZBA’s eval­u­ation of the plan.

Ward ex­plained that the busi­ness will con­sol­id­ate with 9230 and 9228 N. Delaware Ave. to form one large par­cel at the 9242 ad­dress. The pro­posed park­ing lot will cov­er the ex­ist­ing 9230 and 9228 lots and will be paved. To max­im­ize park­ing spots, less than 10 per­cent of the lot will be covered with land­scap­ing in vi­ol­a­tion of the zon­ing guidelines. In ad­di­tion, buf­fer zones (or “set­backs”) at the front of the lot and along one side of the lot will be nar­row­er than re­quired by the code.

Neigh­bors whose homes abut the busi­ness, in­clud­ing sev­er­al with Ger­mania Street ad­dresses, in­sisted that light­ing in the park­ing lot be dir­ec­ted away from nearby homes. They also asked that a rear fence and land­scap­ing for the lot would not be so high it would block their views of the Delaware River.

Neigh­bors also asked that the busi­ness con­tin­ue to ob­serve a re­stric­tion on out­door mu­sic or en­ter­tain­ment and that it not ex­pand bar or res­taur­ant ser­vice onto an­oth­er ad­join­ing prop­erty at 9250 N. Delaware Ave.

ETCA mem­bers voted 16-4, with one ab­sten­tion, in sup­port of the ex­pan­sion plan. The pos­it­ive vote rep­res­en­ted a change of heart of sorts, as the same civic group had re­peatedly op­posed pri­or ex­pan­sion ef­forts by the busi­ness.

Loc­al auto re­pair shop own­er Kev­in Good­child opened Mag­gie’s about five years ago on the long­time site of Mimi’s on the Delaware and oth­er former bar/res­taur­ant busi­nesses.

Neigh­bors re­peatedly have com­plained to the own­er about noise and oth­er dis­turb­ances they claim the busi­ness’ cus­tom­ers cause. Mag­gie’s is also known for host­ing sev­er­al block party fun­draisers dur­ing warm-weath­er months to be­ne­fit po­lice and fire char­it­ies and oth­er causes.

In un­re­lated zon­ing mat­ters:

• The ETCA ap­proved a couple’s plan to build a three-story home at 5217 Aren­dell Ave. Maria and Dav­id Gonza­lez said that the house would be built too close to prop­erty lines to meet zon­ing reg­u­la­tions. However, at 35 feet tall, the house would be three feet short­er than the max­im­um al­lowed by the code.

One neigh­bor said he is con­cerned that the house would still be too tall for the neigh­bor­hood, which has a lot of smal­ler homes. He’s wor­ried that the new house will block sight lines and sun­shine from his home.

• The ETCA ap­proved an­oth­er res­id­ent’s re­quest for ret­ro­act­ive zon­ing ap­prov­al on a new gar­age. The own­er of 5225 Linden Ave. built a de­tached gar­age without zon­ing per­mits, ac­cord­ing to the landown­er’s ar­chi­tect. The new struc­ture re­placed an older gar­age that had be­gun to crumble with termite dam­age.

The new gar­age is taller and wider than the old one. If the own­er can’t get zon­ing re­lief, the city might try to force him to re­move the gar­age. Neigh­bors voted not to op­pose the new con­fig­ur­a­tion. ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or

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