by Mary Donnelly | Close your eyes and picture the scene of a quaint village on a sunny fall morning.
Perhaps there’s a cobblestone walkway bustling with pedestrians shuffling from store to store. A neighborhood kid parks his bike along the lamppost, securing it only with its kickstand.
Children in pink tutus giggle excitedly as they hold hands with a parent, crossing the street at the blinking red light to begin a short walk home.
Nearby, the bells of the clock tower ring. It’s 10 o’clock, and the smell of freshly roasted coffee and hot pancakes wafts from the cozy neighborhood café.
It is the quintessential scene of a village that taps into the charms of yesteryear. Because of a recent approval from the Village of Brightwaters, it’s a scene that may soon become a reality on the corner of North Windsor Avenue and Orinoco Drive in the heart of the village.
On Tuesday evening, Village Board members voted unanimously to relax several areas of the village code to allow for a clocktower and other additions.
Rocco Alessandro and his daughter Teresa are renovating the building at the prominent corner as they actively seek to attract a restaurant to the location.
Part of the project calls for a retractable wall to accommodate open-air seating, though plans to incorporate outdoor seating for a dining establishment would have to be petitioned for and approved after a tenant moves in.
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As reported by greaterbayshore.com in June, the village issued the property owners a change of use variance for the corner storefront at 348 North Windsor, a former hardware store.
But nothing happened as far as the Alessandros signing a tenant.
“We had someone that was interested, but they ended up going with another space,” Teresa said.
The Alessandros then took the additional steps to make the space more attractive to a potential tenant by asking for relaxation of village code for exterior renovations.
“Our architect has been working with us on designing a beautiful vestibule and clock tower on the building,” said Teresa.
The building owners describe the new structure as a lighthouse themed clock tower, and the vestibule will consist of full height French doors “to accommodate future seating while creating an open floor ambiance.”
In order to do all that, areas of village code needed to be relaxed to allow for 25 feet in height, from 20 feet, and a lot of coverage of 54 percent, up from 50 percent.
The Planning Board on Tuesday lauded the Alessandros for their efforts to make the improvements to the space, and the board approved the plans unanimously.
Trustee Christian Sullivan pointed out that the Village of Brightwaters is in the midst of a downtown revitalization project subsidized by a grant awarded from the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning.
He stated that the village plans to modify the streetscape, install new lamposts, and implement a new look for the common areas using a landscape designer.
According to Brightwaters building inspector Bob O’Shea, the Alessandro’s plans will not have a negative impact on the structure of the existing building or the sidewalk and curb.
So all that is needed is the right tenant.
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