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HERE’S THE SCOOP…..LOVE DINING OUTSIDE IN LBTS?…… IT MIGHT BE CURTAILED AFTER JANUARY 25, 2022….

Dear Readers…. Do you love as residents…guests…visitors the outdoor dining extension seating our town was at the forefront instituting at the start of Covid?…. The decision is set to take place for it to be permanent on Tues. January 25, 2022 in Jarvis Hall at 6:30 pm…by our commission ….Your input is vital to their decision!…. This writer is all in for these improvements to our downtown….We had a Resolution in 2014 determining the uses of the Ocean Plaza …But ….we all know that times and uses change ….and that is the case with the Ocean Plaza….as 3 of those on the dais who signed this Resolution know and agree with….The time is now to make the change from that 2014 Resolution to allow extended dining with pedestrian reconfiguration access to the beach ….as well as to keep the extended dining in the Commercial Blvd. parking spaces…. The Town Manager puts emphasis on loss of parking revenue for these spaces….but….we are only flush with parking fund money ….BECAUSE….of the downtown restaurants!….To make up the loss….increase the parking fees to mirror other seaside towns….Below is the email this writer sent to the commission ….and I will be at the commission meeting to make public comments in full support ….  Readers can come and speak at the podium or send in their support to the Town Clerk …

[email protected]

My email…..

‘Mayor, Commissioners-

On January 25,2022 at your Commission meeting in Jarvis Hall on your agenda will be the decision on making permanent the outdoor dining extensions into some of the Commercial Blvd. parking spaces as well as providing the same extension to Aruba Beach Cafe in the plaza.

Our town was at the forefront of utilizing these areas to offer our restaurants what many other restaurants in our country lost out on, a way to stay in business throughout this ongoing pandemic!

We were quick to offer our residents, hotel guests and visitors near and far a safe way to partake in dining out and getting out of their homes!

What resulted from this was quite extraordinary and unexpected!

We found that the use of these hazardous parking spaces for extended outdoor dining were not in the least bit a negative impact in loss of use but  in fact it was a much safer use of prime downtown property and a much healthier alternative of not having the chance of impact from poor parallel parkers and car fumes!

In the plaza, Aruba Beach Cafe, long the real  anchor of our town for keeping our downtown afloat especially in those years of losing Mack Groves and before the fruition of the downtown revitalization that brought in other restaurants and businesses, provided a beautiful sight of welcoming umbrellaed covered tables for those who prior to this use would use the plaza with their balloons in hand waiting for a table there!

The use of the plaza has significantly changed from its original intended use.

For those who think otherwise I again implore you to spend time there in order to see that like most towns we have an increase of the less fortunate souls finding their way downtown to stay for extended stretches of time.

We’ve lost our ocean and beach views while seated under the pavilion which was key to the building of the pavilion and the plaza with the positioning of the boat benches and Adirondack chairs as a result of the need to increase our dune and seagrass protection.

Aruba Beach Cafe with this extension of dining has offered a solution to the plaza use as well as being a good steward to the daily upkeep and  maintenance of the plaza.

Peggy Mohler and her staff are always quick to assist the Town and anyone who might need to use the plaza as witnessed before and during the pandemic.

The most recent example was the Hanukkah event and unexpectedly saved with their umbrellas being on hand as it rained!

At Sea Ranch Club, I have reached out to large portions of over 700+ owners, renters and guests asking their take on the outdoor dining extension, loss of these parallel parking spaces on Commercial Blvd. and the extension of Aruba Beach Cafe and the response has been overwhelmingly for it to continue!

Seasonal renters from Canada back after a years absence, many returning as they have year after year, cannot fathom why there would be any opposition to making this permanent!

Others, new owners to the three buildings which is more than we have experienced in two decades, exclaimed they chose LBTS because of our being different from our neighboring towns where overdevelopment is rampant and they see the downtown restaurants with this outdoor dining setup as a a major component of what drove them to their decision to buy here!

They also cited El Mar Drive as is, stating their daily use and being fully aware of the push to change it and our height restrictions!

In not understanding the south- end old-timers as well as the new- comers those against this permanent outdoor dining extension sitting on the dais show a lack of any real connection to the heart and soul of our town and why we have and will continue to fight to protect and preserve it while being on board for refreshing and improving it in ways to make it better while honoring its specialness as this permanent extension of outdoor dining does!

Thank you,
Barbara Cole’

more to come…..

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