Lakewood Board Approves Special Use Permit For Restaurant Project

LAKEWOOD — Plans to open a new, family-friendly establishment in the heart of historic Lakewood took a big step forward during Monday’s meeting of the village Board of Trustees.

During the meeting, the board approved a special use permit that would allow the new owners of the former Yesterday’s building — located at 103 Chautauqua Ave. — to pursue a liquor license and exterior renovations necessary to get the ball rolling on being business-ready by late November.

The board’s decision followed a presentation by Lori Galster of Galster Enterprises Inc., project manager, who discussed the primary focus areas that need to be addressed before interior renovations can be considered. According to Galster, the biggest issue is moisture inside the building that has resulted from overgrown vegetation and four feet of dirt piled up against the building’s rear concrete wall.

“When the park that sits adjacent to the building was put in, dirt was placed against the back wall, and it’s creating a moisture problem in addition to the pressure that several feet of dirt is putting on the wall itself,” Galster said following the board meeting. “What was decided (as a result of the board’s approval of the special use permit) is that village personnel will have the authority to remove the overgrown vegetation. The owners will pay for materials to install drainage along there, and install a retaining wall on the village property to hold back the planters and the park from being against the building.”

Additionally, the special use permit will also grant the establishment the ability to install outdoor seating in what is now a parking area along Chautauqua Avenue, which will be resurfaced. Galster noted that, because the building is less than 2,000 square feet in size, the project is not required to go before the planning or site review committees — meaning that the items requiring attention within the special use permit may be addressed first and foremost.

She said the next step will be to work alongside Lakewood’s Department of Public Works and its supervisor, Thomas Pilling, in drawing up and releasing a blueprint for a new retaining wall, and to submit a packet of final drawings for the renovations to be made to the building.

Galster said it may not be possible to complete all aspects of the special use permit in advance of the owners’ desired opening date at the end of November, namely the outdoor seating component, but that the project’s timeline should make a late-November opening feasible.