Tuesday, May 17, 2022

City Planning Commission slated to review Berret’s outdoor stage request

Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill has applied for a special use permit with Williamsburg’s Architectural Review Board to place a stage for live music on the outdoor lawn. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Google Maps)
Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill has applied for a special use permit with Williamsburg’s Architectural Review Board to place a stage for live music on the outdoor lawn. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Google Maps)

With the help of Colonial Williamsburg, Berret’s Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse Grill may be looking at adding more live outdoor music to its offerings.

On Wednesday, the the city’s Planning Commission is slated to either recommend approval or denial of an application by Colonial Williamsburg to change the zoning ordinance to allow an outdoor event space in the B1 District downtown.

If the zoning text amendment and a special use permit are approved by City Council, Berret’s will be able to build an 8-foot-by-8 foot stage that would sit adjacent to the entrance of the Taphouse Grill restaurant.

The stage would allow Berret’s to host nightly live amplified or acoustic music from May to October, according to city documents. The music would be from noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays, then nightly from 6-9 p.m. the rest of the week.

“All musical acts will be instructed to keep the noise level down so as to not disrupt foot-traffic in the general vicinity,” Brian Mahoney, Berret’s general manager, wrote in an applicant narrative.

The special use permit would also allow a new 36-by-26-foot patio adjacent to the stage. The new patio would total 936 square feet, and be an addition to the Taphouse Grill’s existing 300 square feet of outdoor space.

Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill has applied for a special use permit with Williamsburg’s Architectural Review Board to place a stage for live music on the outdoor lawn. (WYDaily/Courtesy of City of Williamsburg)
Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill has applied for a special use permit with Williamsburg’s Architectural Review Board to place a stage for live music on the outdoor lawn. (WYDaily/Courtesy of City of Williamsburg)

In August, a Berret’s office manager told WYDaily the restaurant has had live music for years and featured local musicians from all over Eastern Virginia. Some of those performances have already been located outside, but on a lawn that sometimes became muddy or didn’t have a cover.

While the downtown B1 District is in and around the Historic Area, it also includes other properties not owned by Colonial Williamsburg.

If approved, any B1 District property owner would be able to add an outdoor event space if a special use permit is granted.

A Planning and Codes Compliance staff memo recommends the Planning Commission recommend City Council approve the application for a special use permit, as well as the zoning text change.

The Architectural Review Board reviewed the application Aug. 27 and approved the stage with the condition the entire structure be painted the same color as the Taphouse Grill. The stage must also have horizontal siding to hide the underside of the stage.

“The use of the space for small venues for the restaurant is appropriate and will add to the vibrancy Downtown and is in harmony with the Comprehensive Plan,” the staff report reads.

The staff report also says the city may require additional information from the applicant, include a traffic impact analysis, a public utility analysis and a fiscal impact analysis.

Staff suggests the approval of the special use permit be contingent upon several conditions:

  • Music must end by 9:30 p.m.
  • The Architectural Review Board must approve the final design, including light or a stage cover
  • Musical acts must be no more than two people
  • All equipment must stay on the stage.

The Planning Commission will meet at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Stryker Center, 412 N. Boundary St.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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