GOSHEN — Plans to convert a former downtown bar into a new restaurant took their next step Tuesday during a meeting of the Goshen Board of Zoning Appeals.
At the meeting, board members approved a request by Roger Nafziger for a variance to allow alterations to the front and rear facades of the former White Horse bar, located at 108-110 N. Main St.
According to Nafziger, he and his wife, Laurie, purchased the former bar last summer at the urging of their son, Aaron Nafziger, who is the current owner of the Constant Spring bar in downtown Goshen.
In the months following the purchase, the family has been working to renovate and convert the property into a new, family-friendly downtown restaurant that will then be managed by Aaron.
“The name of it is going to be The Table at 108. That’s what will be on the awning, and that is now official,” Nafziger told the board. “Aaron’s still kind of figuring out menu, and working with a couple consultants on figuring out menu. But there will be pasta, salads, fish, meat proteins, etc.”
Nafziger noted the plan is to convert the property at 108 N. Main St. into a restaurant that will also include a back patio. Then the property at 110 N. Main St. will serve as the eatery’s bar area, and will be restricted to those 21 years of age or older.
“And we’re completely renovating it,” Nafziger added of the process. “When we bought it, we weren’t sure. And we were hoping that the kitchen hood, and some of that equipment we could keep, but we’re ending up completely replacing everything.”
According to Rossa Deegan, planning and zoning administrator for the city, Nafziger’s request centered on a desire to improve both the appearance and structural integrity of the front and rear facades of the property by adding a stone veneer to the front and metal panels and stucco to the rear façade.
However, Deegan noted that the property is located within the Downtown District, which regulates the architectural style of all new and altered buildings by requiring that visible exterior walls of the buildings match the historical style, general design, arrangement, size, texture and materials of the existing pre-1910 buildings on Main Street between Clinton and Jefferson streets.
Given that Nafziger’s planned improvements to the property’s facades will not be visually compatible with the overall district’s pre-1910 aesthetic, Deegan said Nafziger’s only recourse was to seek a variance.
“While the proposed stone veneer on the front facade does not match the historical style, it will largely replace painted wood paneling that also does not match the historical style and which adversely affects the appearance of the building and surrounding properties,” Deegan told the board in voicing his support for the request. “Additionally, several adjacent buildings not on the list of buildings matching the historical style have textures that match the stone veneer and stucco. The facade on 118 N. Main St. is made up of horizontal limestone segments of alternating sizes, similar to the proposed veneer, and 112 N. Main has a stucco front facade. While the proposed metal siding is far from the historical style, it will cover deteriorating and unsightly brick, which may be so costly and time-consuming to replace that it would hamper any improvements to the facade.”
And, while rare, Deegan noted that Nafziger’s request would not be the first time such a variance has been approved for a property located within the Downtown District.
“The ordinance establishing the Downtown District regulations was enacted in September 2008. Since that time, only two requests have been made for variances from the requirements and both were approved,” Deegan said. “The first variance permitted first-floor window coverage at the Chamber of Commerce building of 35% where the district regulations require 75%, and for the windows to be tinted. The second variance approved exterior renovations to a one-story building with 1930s architectural style where the minimum height of buildings is two stories and pre-1910s architectural style is required.
“Conversion of the buildings from a vacant former bar to a renovated family restaurant will be a benefit to the community in general and the downtown specifically,” he added of the request. “While the comprehensive plan seeks to ‘preserve and protect the downtown’s historic resources,’ it also seeks to ‘promote the maintenance and rehabilitation of downtown businesses’ and the ‘cleanliness and upkeep of the downtown district.’”
The board’s members agreed, and the requested variance was approved unanimously.
In other business, board members:
• Approved a request by Eckco Transit LLC and Javi Holdings LLC for a variance to allow a new semi-truck terminal and repair business to operate out of an existing facility at 1808-1810 Reliance Road. The variance was needed due to the fact that the property is located within a Commercial B-3 zoning district, where such truck terminal and repair businesses are only allowed as permitted uses within the city’s Industrial M-1 and M-2 districts.