EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to correct the number of seats at Shipwrecked prior to a 2017 fire.
The owners of Shipwrecked Brew Pub in Egg Harbor took a new plan to the Egg Harbor Plan Commission Tuesday.
The proposal includes a 1,865-square-foot addition and 92 additional seats in a beer garden next door to the existing restaurant on property that was long the home of Christine’s Casuals.
The plan commission denied a similar plan March 3, in part because that plan relied on a nonexistent shared-use agreement with a neighboring property owner for access to parking. The new plan is largely the same, but it removes the parking and the need for the shared-use agreement.
Interim Village Administrator Tom Strong said the proposal conforms to village zoning codes.
Shipwrecked’s general manager, Joe Smith, presented the proposal for Shipwrecked.
“Our biggest takeaway from that meeting was that green space was more important than parking,” Smith said.
Plan commission Chair Cambria Mueller disputed Smith’s interpretation of that meeting.
“Green space and parking were equal concerns,” she said. “It wasn’t just one or the other. We have a severe parking problem in the village.”
During their March 3 deliberations, plan commissioners also raised many questions about the size and scope of the project, green space requirements and parking. By removing parking spaces, the developers were able to come into compliance with green space requirements, but with the expansion and addition of 92 outdoor seats, the restaurant would have a capacity of 394 diners with just seven on-site parking spaces. That’s four fewer spaces than the existing restaurant has. The plan counts six shared-use spaces from the owners’ property across the street, where Fat Louie’s is located.
Village ordinance requires 97 parking spaces for a restaurant of the size proposed by Shipwrecked. To meet that requirement, the owners propose paying the village’s Fee in Lieu of Parking (FILOP) of $50 per year for the other 84 parking spaces, or a total of $4,200.
Plan commissioner Jon Kolb reiterated pleas he made March 3 imploring the Board of Trustees to revisit the FILOP ordinance.
“The Fee in Lieu of Parking is absurd,” he said. “It’s incumbent on businesses to come up with a parking plan. I don’t know that it’s the village’s responsibility to provide a parking plan for businesses.”
Plan commissioner Paula Cashin agreed, noting that when the plan commission created the FILOP ordinance, it recommended a fee of $250, which the board reduced to $50.
“I understand if someone needs two or three parking spots,” Mueller said. “But we’re talking 84 spots.”
Mueller said safety at the County G and Highway 42 intersection where Shipwrecked is located is a major concern, noting that by providing so little parking on-site, the business owners would be forcing their hundreds of customers and employees to cross the highway or the busy intersection to reach the restaurant.
That issue has existed for years. Prior to a 2017 fire, Smith said Shipwrecked sat 270 patrons inside and outside. When it was reconstructed, the upstairs lodging units were removed to add seating upstairs. According to the village’s Aug. 11, 2019, count for Wastewater Treatment Plant REU calculations, the restaurant’s total seating was 302 diners.
That same count put One Barrel’s total seating at 344 seats.
A public hearing for residents to weigh in on the plan is scheduled for May 11.