BERLIN – The redevelopment of a former poultry plant on Old Ocean City Blvd. could include a new seafood restaurant from Crab Alley founder Jim Farlow.
“It’s his goal to create an affordable and successful restaurant to serve the town of Berlin,” said Farlow’s attorney, Hugh Cropper. “It truly is more of a neighborhood restaurant.”
The Berlin Planning Commission granted both preliminary and final site plan approval to the 7,150-square-foot restaurant to be built in the old Tyson chicken plant parking lot Wednesday night.
“I think it’ll bring people in,” said Planning Commission member Pete Cosby. “I think this is a great project to liven up that part of town.”
Farlow, the contract purchaser of the property, plans to build the 125-seat restaurant in a Berlin-compatible style, with a board façade, chimney, and porch columns.
The interior will be in two levels, with a bar and seating area on the first floor, and more seating on the balcony meant for groups and events.
“The restaurant is a permitted use in this zone. It’s parking compliant. We don’t need any variances to make this work,” said Cropper.
Cosby said he liked the architectural features, but asked Farlow to consider doing the chimney in a colonial salmon colored brick.
“It would be a nice feature if you can swing it,” he said.
Farlow will consider Cosby’s suggestion, but the brick could be too expensive for his budget.
The developer will also plant an evergreen landscape border between the restaurant and what will eventually be Troy Purnell’s townhouse project.
Planning Commission member Joe Hill asked that pedestrian and bike access be added to the site plan.
“We’d like multiple means of getting there,” said Hill.
“The thing that jumps out is pedestrian access,” said Planning Commission member Dave Rovansek. “It doesn’t seem there really is any.”
“I would like to see a pedestrian access at least on [Rt.] 346,” agreed Cosby.
Planner Larry Whitlock said he could “accommodate” that request.
Rovansek was back on the dais for the first time since taking a leave of absence to undergo treatment for a brain tumor. He took part in the discussion, but is a non-voting member.
The Berlin Mayor and Council established John Barrett as an alternate member of the Planning Commission in December. Rovansek can take up his Planning Commission seat again when he is ready.