There was a full house at Carleton Place Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday March 26th with the majority of those in attendance coming to hear about an application to expand the patio of the Boulton House restaurant. Located at 33-35 Mill St (just down the street from the town hall), the property owner and restaurant operator were seeking to expand the outdoor seating capacity of their riverfront yard patio from 22 to 84. Three residents had applied to speak before the committee and all were against permitting the expansion. Roderick Fernandes, Wendy James, and Ruth McNabb all live in the immediate vicinity of the restaurant and predicted the increase would mean traffic snarls on the narrow street, excessive noise, waste odours, and light pollution among other concerns. They were seeking restrictions on the number of outdoor seats, hours of operation, and a total ban on any amplified music. They feared that the restaurant and patio would be used for wedding events and receptions leading to longer term parking in the area as well as presenting safety concerns for party-goers celebrating very close to the rapids area of the Mississippi River.
The town’s acting manager of development services, Tyler Duval explained to council that the application before them did not seek to change the permitted uses of the property under the downtown zoning and that no parking spaces were required according to the town’s official plan and land use regulations. He recommended approving the application. Deputy Mayor Sean Redmond suggested that the applicant be required to install a sound barrier fence between the restaurant the bordering house to the east and that no amplified music or wedding parties be permitted. The restaurant operator Rod Scrivner spoke to indicate it was not his intention to host large wedding parties at the site but rather to offer the spectacular backdrop of the river as photo opportunities for bridal parties. Councilor Toby Randall commented that “at some point we need to take people’s words” and “I trust them (the applicants) that they will do what they say they will do”.
In the end the committee approved the application as presented with no changes.