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Cafe in central Greenwich wants to become a full restaurant

Photo of Robert Marchant

Parking issues pose a challenge for a cafe and retail store on Arch Street.

/ Robert Marchant / Hearst Media

GREENWICH — A proposal to convert a cafe on Arch Street into a restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages is running into questions over how much parking is available there.

The Perfect Provenance at 47 Arch St. sells clothing and accessories and also operates Cafe 47, which does not provide beer, wine or mixed drinks. A proposal before the Planning and Zoning Commission would create a restaurant on the first floor of the building with 22 seats, up from 12 seats. The addition of more seats would allow the operation to become a restaurant under state law, allowing for a liquor license, a profitable revenue stream for food-service operations.

But only five parking spaces are open for the business now, and the conversion into a restaurant would need additional parking that it cannot provide. A minimum of nine parking spaces would be required.

John Heagney, the attorney representing the application, said there are a number of municipal lots nearby that offer parking and requested the Planning and Zoning Commission waive the parking requirement. “The availability of surrounding parking, and expected pedestrian traffic, create the conditions suitable for the commission to modify the parking requirement,” Heagney said in the application.

At the commission’s meeting Tuesday, planning commissioners raised concerns about setting a precedent over the parking at the location. “This is the ‘slippery slope’ rule,” commission Chair Margarita Alban said. “You have to convince us that we’re not opening a can of worms.”

The commission suggested the cafe maintain a corkage fee to provide wine service, or seek flexibility from the state liquor authority on gaining a liquor license with fewer than permitted seats.

The application, which is in the preliminary stage, was tabled for further discussion.