BERLIN – The Berlin Historic District Commission (HDC) tabled a decision on a downtown restaurant’s’ request to build an addition to offer curbside pickup.
Commission members agreed to continue discussion of a request by the Globe to add curbside pickup next month after receipt of additional information regarding the proposal. Commission members wanted more information about the size and composition of the addition proposed for the Gay Street side of the restaurant.
“We need to know what this building is,” commission member Norman Bunting said.
Jennifer Dawicki, owner of the Globe, told the commission she wanted to build a small addition on the side of the building so that she could offer curbside pickup. Though she could do that in the rear of the building now, she said she wanted to erect the addition so that her employees wouldn’t have to leave the building to deliver orders to waiting vehicles.
She said that she hoped to grow her business by offering curbside pickup, which is now available at several restaurants. She said customers would call and order and pay for their meal and would be advised when to pick it up. At the appointed pickup time, they would drive north on Gay Street (toward Broad Street), pulling up to the proposed curbside pickup window so that a Globe employee could place the order in the vehicle through the passenger side window.
“I think it will have to be a little bit of an experiment to determine how best it will work,” Dawicki said.
Dave Engelhart, the town’s planning director, said the town’s police chief and public works director had no qualms with the proposal.
HDC member Laura Stearns, who manages the Atlantic Hotel, said she thought there could be problems with traffic if the food wasn’t ready. She pointed out other establishments that offered curbside pickup, such as Carrabba’s, had designated parking spots for curbside pickup customers.
“I think that is a really busy corner,” she said. “We have parking problems as it is.”
Dawicki said part of the process would be educating customers on the importance of arriving at the scheduled pickup time.
Stearns said she thought the commission needed to consider the ramifications of the proposal in detail.
“Once it’s there, it’s there and there’s nothing we could do,” she said.
Bunting said he liked the concept of curbside pickup but questioned whether it would set a precedent.
“I think it’d be a case-by-case basis,” Engelhart said.
Stearns said she was also worried about the fact that vehicles approaching the proposed window might cut through the rear parking lot of the Atlantic Hotel.
“That’s a huge concern,” she said.
HDC member Mary Moore said she thought the proposed addition was attractive. She asked whether the curbside pickup could be done on a trial basis during the winter.
Dawicki said the technology that would enable her to begin the service was still being built and that she didn’t have a set date for starting the service.
Engelhart reminded the commission that the appearance of the proposed addition was the only issue within its oversight.
“The purview for this panel is the exterior, the look of the building,” he said.
When asked why she didn’t want to do curbside pickup now with her current layout, Dawicki said she didn’t want an employee to have to walk out of the building to the parking space where the customer was waiting.
The commission agreed to continue the discussion next month and asked Dawicki to return with exact specifications of the proposed addition.