By SCOTT JACKSON
The owner of a Quincy Point restaurant has received permission to open a patio with seating for up to 50 patrons.
The Board of License Commissioners on Tuesday approved a request by Mark DiBona, the owner of Cagney’s Restaurant at 214 Washington St., for an alteration of premises to open the new patio space.
The 1,200 square foot patio will be located in what is now a driveway space off Washington Street next to Cagney’s and the breakfast place located in the same building. DiBona said he expects to spend $75,000 to convert the space into a patio and it will take about three weeks to do so.
DiBona said the success of Cagney’s 25th anniversary celebration in July – which included a temporary outdoor space on Washington Street – led him to pursue the construction of a permanent patio.
“We had great feedback from the neighborhood, great feedback from patrons,” DiBona said. “It worked out well for everybody.”
Outdoor patios are allowed to remain open in Quincy between Patriots Day and Columbus Day, which falls on Oct. 10 this year. DiBona said he hopes to open the patio this season to get a better understanding of what changes may be needed before next year. He could ask the license board for permission open it in October after Columbus Day.
Health Commissioner Drew Scheele, the chairman of the license board, said food service on patios must end at 10 p.m. each night – Cagney’s plans to offer a limited menu outdoors – and the patio must be cleared by 11 p.m.
Cagney’s will be allowed to play background music on the patio, but no live entertainment or television screens will be allowed there. Scheele said only three restaurants in the city with patio spaces have TVs, and said they could lead to patrons being too loud.
“My concern is next year we have a Sunday night Patriots game in early September at 8 o’clock at night and people are out yapping,” Scheele said. “I sympathize with the neighbors on that aspect because I scream at the TV all the time when I’m watching them.”
DiBona said those conditions were fair.
Scheele also asked DiBona if he had consider starting on a smaller scale – setting up a handful of tables on the Washington Street sidewalk – to see how successful outdoor seating would be for a season before deciding to renovate the 1,200 square foot space.
“I hate to see you invest $80,000 and not have people be out there,” Scheele said.
DiBona said his staff would be able to handle the new patio space next to the restaurant. The sidewalk directly in front of Cagney’s, he added, would not be the ideal location for outdoor seating while the proposed location would separated from the public with fencing and shrubbery.
“I’m confident we can run it well – my staff can handle it well,” DiBona said. “I actually think it’s less invasive where I’m proposing than on the sidewalk.
“When you’re on that sidewalk, I’m trying to say this as politely as possible, there is a lot of foot traffic and it’s not you and your wife walking by at 9 o’clock at night. It’s not going to be the most idealistic place to sit – in front of Cagney’s on the sidewalk – and have a nice glass of wine with your wife.”
Ward 1 Councillor Margaret Laforest voiced her support for DiBona’s request at the board meeting, noting Cagney’s is located in a business b zoning area.
“This is an allowed business use and this is an opportunity for this business owner to optimize their business use,” Laforest said, adding that she has received no complaints about noise at other outdoor patios that have opened in her ward.
“I’ve permitted about five of these patios for businesses in my district…Noise has been a concern in every single board meeting. I have yet myself to receive one complaint now that all of these have been implemented.”
Kerry Byrne, a marketing and hospitality consultant for the city, backed the proposal as well.
“Open air hospitality, I think, is essential to the image and perceived quality of life of any community,” he said. “Livening up that corridor between Quincy Center and the South Shore, I think, makes Quincy just look better and more livable, a more vibrant place to live, which is good for anyone who lives here.”
Also in favor of the proposal was John Rodephele, a Grenwold Road resident.
“I’m not usually in support of anything, but I’m in support of this because Cagney’s is a good neighbor,” he stated.
Paul Chenette of Chenette Plumbing, located at 204 Washington St., said he was “strongly opposed” to the plan. He was concerned about several issues including smoking on the patio and the loss of the driveway,
“It’s going to be disruptive,” Chenette said. “There is going to be drinking, there is going to be commotion and there is going to be smoking out there.”
David Chenette, Paul’s brother and a Moffat Road resident, likewise voiced his opposition to the project, as did Martin Gordon of Rock Island Road.
Conor Sullivan, an Edwards Street resident, opposed the proposal in a letter to the licensing board, saying he and his wife were concerned about noise.
“My house is set on a hill on Edwards Street and it is noisy enough with all of the traffic on Washington Street, which is below my house. The echo can be really loud at times and our bedroom is in the back of the house near Washington Street,” Sullivan said in the letter, which Scheele read out loud.
“My wife and I really enjoy Cagney’s, but the added outside noise would be too much.”
In other business Tuesday, the Board of License Commissioners:
Approved a special use permit for the Let’s Stop Cancer Foundation for a 5K family fun run in Squantum on Oct. 23.
Approved a special use permit for Little Hearts Inc. on Oct. 22 at The Irish Pub, 51 Billings Rd.
Approved a special use wine and malt license for the Quincy Historical Society’s Sept. 29 fundraiser, which will be held at the Adams Academy at 8 Adams St.
Approved a transfer of the retail alcohol license for Old Colony Liquors at 637 Southern Artery. The license will be transferred from Fouad Yasmine to his son, Edy.
Received a notification from the state lottery commission about a Keno display at the 7-Eleven at 721 Hancock St., and did not object to its installation there.