On Monday, council unanimously approved the rezoning of the property at 1223 S. Harbor Ave. from waterfront to planned development in order to facilitate the reconstructed restaurant space.
“They can start rebuilding their restaurant,” said Grand Haven Community Development Manager Jennifer Howland.
The Noto family’s original intent when they purchased the site in October 2017 was to remodel and slightly expand the old Bil-Mar restaurant.
“During site visits with staff, and with property owners and the builder, it was pretty obvious for the safety and welfare of the community, and for the tenants and owners, that the project be much more of a rebuild than a remodel,” said Jamie Walter, a senior landscape architect for Nederveld Inc.
The existing building was razed, making way for a new structure that will sit on the same footprint on both the Harbor Drive and Lake Michigan sides. The new building will also have the same height as the old restaurant.
On the west side, a new deck will be constructed as an extension of the formal dining room, and the existing deck will be rebuilt and be more accessible. The deck will include an outdoor kitchen and restrooms. A new cooler will be built on the south end of the building to replace an existing cooler deemed too small for the structure.
Howland noted that in response to suggestions from City Council during a Feb. 5 public hearing, project developers also added several amenities to the project that could serve as public benefits: a new bike rack in the parking lot, wireless internet coverage will be available at the beach surrounding the restaurant, and a temporary pathway on the south side of the property will allow people to get from Harbor Drive to the beach.
During Monday night’s meeting, Mayor Geri McCaleb said that she appreciated the Noto family’s investment in the community.
“I just really appreciate what’s been done with the site,” she said. “I think that is all by itself an asset for the community.”
McCaleb noted that she and many others look forward to the day the rebuilt restaurant opens its doors.