Council agrees not enough parking spaces to allow it
The Waterford Manor on Waterford Bridge Road had applied to the city for a restaurant but the lack of parking spaces in the area forced the city to reject the application.— Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
A historic bed and breakfast on Waterford Bridge Road won’t expand its operation to include a restaurant.
Waterford Manor had applied to the City of St. John’s to open a restaurant in its building at 185 Waterford Bridge Rd., but due to a lack of parking spaces the city rejected the application.
Coun. Tom Hann, chairman of the planning and development committee, said the manor has seven guest rooms and can accommodate up to 16 overnight guests.
Under city regulations, he told council Monday during its regular weekly meeting that bed and breakfast operations have to provide one off-street parking space for every two bedrooms. He said a restaurant requires one parking space per five square metres of seating area and the Manor was looking to have a seating area of 107 square metres.
Hann said based on the regulations, the total parking spaces needed for both operations would be 28. The manor only has 14 now.
“So council has the authority to relieve the parking requirements so I table it for discussion, but the staff recommendation is it not be approved because it only meets 50 per cent of the required parking spaces,” Hann said.
Because the building is designated as heritage, city council has the authority to use its discretion to waive the parking, which is what Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff suggested it should do.
“I’m inclined to agree with it in the sense that it is a designated historic property and it does provide 14 parking spaces,” she said, adding it’s unlikely the rooms and restaurant would be full all the time. “I just think finding viability for important historic structures, that is why it’s discretionary for us and we have waived parking requirements for other B and Bs, so I’m going to vote for it because I don’t think it will cause a great disruption,” said Duff, suggesting the owners could bring back a smaller plan to make the idea work.
Along with the lack of parking for the manor, councillors were concerned about the lack of parking in in the Waterford Bridge Road area.
Ward Coun. Bruce Tilley said on any given day he’s getting phone calls and emails from residents expressing concerns about parking.
“I’m speaking against it for a number of reasons,” he said. “Firstly it doesn’t meet the requirements for parking, and with the approval of a restaurant means additional traffic and from the residents of Waterford Bridge Road I get calls twice a week, because at least 10,000 (cars) goes down that road every day and residents in the area don’t have enough parking as it is,” he said.
Tilley said this would be detrimental to the area, which is a narrow, winding road surrounded by homes.
Coun. Sandy Hickman looked up the area on Google Maps. He said it showed a wedding at the manor and cars parked all over the streets around it.
Mayor Dennis O’Keefe said he agreed that the correct decision was to deny the application. “Waterford Bridge Road is a highly residential area with an awful lot of traffic, and whenever there is an event at the manor, the parking spills over on Waterford Lane and Waterford Place. And as Coun. (Danny) Breen indicated, to forgive 50 per cent of parking is an invitation to invite that amount of parking to collect on Waterford Lane or up in the residential area of Waterford Place or on the road where there is no parking, and council is well aware of the complaints of speeding in the area.”
Only Duff voted to allow the application.