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Parking an Obstacle for Westchester Burger's Bid to Restore Outdoor Seats

Mt. Kisco planners tell Westchester Burger Company its success means it must find space to accommodate the additional cars it attracts.

Two weeks by the Mount Kisco planning board, owner Vincent Corso apologized Tuesday for not promptly correcting a handful of site violations.

But Corso did not apologize for choosing his son’s little league game over the June 26 meeting. Nor, after almost 40 minutes of exchanges, did he leave with the board’s blessing for some sought-after outdoor dining.

The board, openly exasperated at the June meeting over what it deemed a lack of compliance with its demands, had ordered the restaurant’s limited outdoor seating, previously approved on a temporary basis, removed immediately.  

Any future al fresco seating, board Chairman Joseph Cosentino made clear Tuesday, would require adding parking spaces at the Westchester Burger site at 353 N. Bedford Rd., and it could come at the cost of some indoor dining capacity.

Corso and his property general manager, Michelle Bernal, stood a table’s width away from the board throughout the discussion, which also covered such site-compliance issues as repairs to guard-rail fencing, lighting and a side exit as well as a landscaping plan. Corso said the repairs had been addressed and landscaping—or its lack—sparked a brief discussion that was tabled pending a site visit.

Parking, however, remained the most intractable problem. Under state and village building codes, a restaurant’s seating is pegged to its square footage and parking capacity. Corso, quoting an unidentified fire department official, initially said Westchester Burger qualified as a 192-seat restaurant. Cosentino, however, put the total at 129, insisting, “That’s what the site plan says, 1-2-9.” 

The 129 figure was based on the restaurant’s current parking capacity, which Building Inspector Austin Cassidy puts at 48.

Cosentino noted that the restaurant’s popularity has created the parking issue.

“You run a good business there,” he told Corso. “You’re very successful with what you’re doing. We’re proud of you for doing that. The problem is parking.” He said that since the site’s previous dining spots, John's Best and , had not attracted as many customers, they did not need more than the lot’s four-dozen parking spaces.

“When 60, 70 cars come here, what do you do?” Cosentino asked. “The 24 cars that don’t fit in your lot, where do they go?”

Corso said he had started discussions to tap into the only other practical parking—25 spaces next door at the mattress outlet—but acknowledged that he had not yet acquired a written agreement.

The Sleepy’s website lists its closing time as 9 p.m. every night except Sunday, when doors close at 7p.m. But for Westchester Burger, Corso told the board, “The majority of our business starts at 5 and ends at 8:30.”

Some board members, especially Douglas Hertz and Vice-chairman Anthony Sturniolo, were critical of the restaurant’s lack of landscaping.

“Right now, it looks like Little House on the Prairie,” Sturniolo said.

Hertz agreed, saying, “What we see on the front of your building is a huge expanse of brick.”

Planning consultant Nanette Bourne suggested that the board visit the site  before taking up the matter again.

JumpinJohn July 12, 2012 at 03:53 PM
We need to clean house and put people who are business friendly in place. Wonder how many of them own a business, and what their front lawns look like.
Donna July 12, 2012 at 05:45 PM
No wonder why businesses can't stay in business.
Christine P July 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I agree with what everyone has said - we should be encouraging business. The appearance now is far better than what it was in the past, I don't see what the fuss is about there.
Cathi B July 16, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Westchester Burger looks 1000 times better than the previous Restaurant. The planning board is way out of line with their comment.
Bea Rhodes July 16, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Yes, sounds like the Planning Board is not being too flexible here, in general Planning Boards seem to be omnipotent! What a shame, the renovations and the landscaping out front look very appealing. It’s really too bad that you can’t eat outdoors. I have been there once so far and really enjoyed dinner.

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