The five-month discussion of a potential code amendment to allow varied types of restaurants in waterfront Millville may soon be wrapping up.
The Gig Harbor City Council narrowed down the draft ordinance at the Monday night meeting. That ordinance will be on the agenda for the council to approve or deny at its next meeting.
The draft ordinance forbids the use of deep-fat fryers, limits bar area to no more than 40 percent of the restaurant space and sets operating hours from a 7 a.m. opening to a 9:30 p.m. last seating time. The hours do not dictate when a restaurant will operate; it is a time window which the restaurant must set hours within.
At previous meetings, the closing time of the restaurants have been a subject of debate. Residents of the Millville area have shared concerns about public drunkenness, trespassing and late-night noise complaints.
“For the most part I think that’s fiction, but it could happen,” council member Tim Payne said.
Payne has taken it upon himself to visit restaurants at night and his conclusion is that Gig Harbor buttons up too early to attract people who stay out late.
Going into Monday’s meeting there was debate about where to draw the boundary for the zoning overlay. Council member Paul Kadzik had previously proposed a line that would condense the proposed area.
At the previous meeting, a straw poll showed a 4-3 vote for Kadzik’s line, but on Monday council member Steve Ekberg switched his vote.
Ekberg said via phone that on review he saw the planning commission’s original boundary proposal made the most logical sense. When he stated in the previous meeting that he would consider Kadzik’s proposal, he was not saying no.
“My initial thought was to give it an exploration,” he said. “I’m very concerned with the impacts (to the neighborhood).”
Ekberg said that on review, to him Kadzik’s line did not mitigate as many issues as he would like, especially because although the overlay would no longer include Dorotich Street, the street that would still see in and out traffic as patrons visit the restaurant.
The commission chose that proposal, which sets the boundary from Pleasurecraft Marina to Susanne’s Bakery and Deli.
The vote was a close 4-3 decision, with council members Kadzik, Ken Malich and Rahna Lovrovich dissenting.
The ordinance will be in front of the council on May 11. At that point the council will approve or deny the ordinance. If the council does not take action, the ordinance will die or will need to return for a third public hearing, planning director Jennifer Kester said.
The code amendment would allow restaurant types 2 and 3, which allow for the serving of spirits and use of deep-fat fryers and grills. In this case the fryers are not allowed.
The council also approved a height exemption that would allow a solar panel on the Sehmel Family Building at the Harbor History Museum. The project is a community solar power demonstration operated through a joint partnership with the museum and Peninsula Light Company.