E. Cocalico temporarily halts restaurant deck work
BY PATRICK BURNS, Correspondent
"All hands off deck" is becoming a familiar refrain to East Cocalico restaurateurs.
For the second straight year, East Cocalico Township officials shut down a restaurant deck-improvement project along its busy Route 272 (Reading Road) corridor.
This year, it was Zia Maria Italian Eatery & Pub, 2350 N. Reading Road, where work was temporarily suspended.
Tony Luongo, township zoning officer, informed the township board of supervisors that improvement work on the outside deck at Zia's had been suspended because the owner failed to get township approvals.
Speaking at the April 17 meeting, Luongo said he was alerted to "some construction going on at Zia's."
"I did a site visit with the building code officer and found renovations on that site were being done without the proper permits," Luongo said. "We advised the owner that he needed to get the proper paperwork and we posted the property and stopped all work."
Luongo said the project -- which includes interior work, a new doorway and deck modifications -- was halted for more than a week until he "received standard engineer drawings and appropriate application."
Worked later resumed after the requirements were met.
The action involving Zia Maria's came about five months after a packed hearing at which East Cocalico Township residents rallied in support of Kyma Seafood Restaurant, which was fined heavily for work on its deck. Residents said the municipality was heavy-handed in assessing a traffic impact fee on a local restaurant.
The township supervisors have billed a $28,000-plus traffic-impact fee to Kyma owners, Nick and George Barakos, a year after they completed a 74-seat, 1,497-square-foot elevated deck at 1640 N. Reading Road.
The brothers failed in a challenge to the township's ruling, which declared that further improvements -- notably the installation of a covering over the deck on the north side of the property -- had altered its permitted-use agreement.
The owners lost the local battle and its appeal in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas.
Last month, the Barakoses agreed to pay $1,000 monthly installments toward the traffic impact fee, which township manager Mark Hiester said is paid by developers for the impact of their anticipated traffic growth on the transportation network.
During the hearing in October, many of Kyma's supporters had protested that Zia's also was not required to pay a traffic impact fee.
It was a busy month for Luongo, who also suspended work at Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, 60 Vera Cruz Road.
Luongo said the organization had begun to expand its parking lot without proper permits. He said a subsequent permit application was denied because adding impervious ground cover on the property would affect stormwater runoff.
"As you all know, that site is pretty maxed out," he told the board. "From a stormwater standpoint, they have issues."
Luongo said that previous expansions plans have granted the business stormwater exemptions.
"The stormwater exemption has long been used up," he said. "So if they need to do any additional impervious cover, they would have to supply a stormwater plan to the township."
Officials also shut down a trash incinerator operating on the 300 block of North Muddy Creek Road. They said it was illegally burning trash and building materials. Luongo said the owner of the property does not live there.
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