By DOTTY NIST
A new restaurant proposal for the former Wheelhouse Restaurant property in Seagrove, called 723 Whiskey Bravo, has received approval from the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC).
The approval took place at the regular BCC meeting on Feb. 8 at the South Walton Courthouse Annex.
The project site is on the north side of CR-30A .The proposal involves the replacement of the old Wheelhouse building, built in the 1950s, with a slightly smaller, 5,748-square-foot restaurant structure, along with a 316-square-foot addition to the commercial building and the renovation of five tourist cottages on the 1.16-acre property.
The new restaurant building is planned to be located further north on the property in order to comply with current county setbacks, and existing parking along CR-30A is planned to be eliminated, with a parking lot to be constructed to the back of the building.
Representing developers Skip and Victoria Moore, local attorney Ken Goldberg explained the name of the business, which has puzzled many people since it was announced.
Goldberg said the name Whiskey Bravo was taken from the call letters of the couple’s airplane and that 7/23 is their wedding anniversary.
For the community, concerns have centered around the potential for the business to put additional traffic on small neighborhood streets to the north of the parcel. Proponents of the development have held meetings with the community and have looked at a number of options to guard against negative impacts of this type.
Gardenia Street borders the west side of the property and Headland Avenue borders the east side, intersecting with Birmingham Street, which runs to the east. There had been proposals at different times to place bollards or a gate to prevent traffic from exiting the restaurant property onto Birmingham Street or to make Birmingham Street one-way.
At the Feb. 8 hearing, after meetings between project proponents and county staff, the final proposal instead included plans for left-turn-only and right-turn-only signs on exits from the business parking lot connecting with Gardenia Street and Headland Avenue, respectively, in order to direct traffic exiting the parking lot back toward CR-30A and away from the narrow neighborhood streets.
Also proposed and agreed to by the developers was the setting aside of a two-foot-wide easement along the east side of the property to widen Headland Avenue as an access to CR-30A.
Representing a neighbor of the development, Tallahasee attorney David Theriaque contended that the property was not entitled to be used in a neighborhood commercial manner due to, among other factors, not being designated for such use by the Walton County Comprehensive Plan. The property is within a Residential Preservation land use classification. Theriaque continued that there had been “no evidence” that the restaurant building, although it had suffered fire at one point, had been “destroyed by fire” and therefore entitled as a nonconforming use to be rebuilt. Any ability to rebuild, he added, would be “to the original height configuration.” While planned for less than 50 feet in height with a roof platform, it was unclear whether the new building would be the same height as the original one or taller….
Read the full story in the February 17, 2011 edition of the Herald Breeze.