BY JOE MAHONEY
THE DAILY STAR
A downtown business is waging a counteroffensive against a village committee’s decision to stop it from making changes to its outdoor patio restaurant and bar.
All-American Cafe, at 99 Main St., recently filed legal papers in state Supreme Court, arguing that the village Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board improperly denied it a “certificate of appropriateness” for what the eatery’s management said are “temporary” improvements.
The court papers state the improvements in question include a new bar with a stainless steel top, additional trellis work to shield the working area of the kitchen from patrons and new decorations and lighting to “enhance the dining experience.”
According to the lawsuit, the cafe’s management believed the “augmentations” were not alterations of the property because they were not permanently affixed to the building at the location and are going to be removed at the conclusion of the summer tourism season.
On May 17, the village zoning enforcement officer, Tavis Austin, cited the cafe with a stop-work order because the management had failed to obtain the certificate of appropriateness, the lawsuit stated.
On June 12, Richard Busse, the president of Pioneer PatioRestaurant Inc., the company that owns the restaurant, urged the preservation board to issue the certificate, noting it had issued a certificate for a new awning in February and he was not aware he needed a second certificate for the augmentations.
The board, by a 3-2 vote, rejected Busse’s request. Those denying the request were the board’s chairwoman, Teresa Drerup, and members Roger MacMillan and Wendell Tripp.
The lawsuit, known as an Article 78, contends that the decision was “arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion in that the determination of incompatibility of the improvements appears to be based solely on the fact that one of the improvements included a ‘bar’ rather than another table for patrons.” Subsequent to the action of the preservation board, the village trustees authorized village attorney Martin Tillapaugh to enforce Austin’s stop-work order, according to the legal papers.
Tillapaugh said the objective of the village is not to shut down the cafe but to get it to stop using the steel bar, a mounted television screen and the new lattice. He said the preservation board simply decided that Busse “can’t construct something that is not historically appropriate.”
According to the court papers, the All-American Cafe is a tenant of American Baseball Experience Inc., whose president is local businessman Perry Ferrara.
The papers state the outdoor bistro has been operating at the location for the past seven years.
BY JOE MAHONEY
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