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Planning board recommends Martino’s restaurant transition

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A recommendation to transform Martino’s Italian Deli from a carry-out deli to a restaurant with 42 seats and bathrooms will head before the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen Tuesday, May 13.

The Wrightsville Beach Planning Board unanimously recommended the conditional use permit during its Tuesday, May 6 meeting, with screening the dumpster as the only condition.

Martino’s requested the addition of 24 interior seats, 18 outside dining seats and new men’s and women’s outside bathrooms at the restaurant’s 7041 Wrightsville Ave. location within the C-5 district.

The increased seating request comes with extended hours Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. year round. In the winter, owner Martin Pica said he would likely only stay open until 6 p.m.

Pica said he would also like to sell wine in the restaurant and requested to add a speaker in the outside dining area.

The current use is a carry-out deli, and the proposed use would be a standard restaurant, said Tony Wilson, planning and parks director.

Staff recommended approval of the conditional use permit for the additions.

“I just want to say I thought it was very well done,” said member Janice Clark about the plans.

Other board members agreed the application was thorough.

Holiday lighting

After receiving a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the town is requesting a lighting ordinance text amendment to light trees in the Causeway Drive median.

The planning board forwarded a favorable recommendation to the aldermen in a 5-1 vote, with Chairman Ace Cofer dissenting. Cofer said he would have placed some restrictions on the recommendation.

The proposed amendment would also allow the town to light other trees, foliage and structures in town right-of-ways, flag poles and monuments, and operate traffic control devices.

The ordinance was first adopted in February 2001 for sea turtle protection and to regulate light trespass and commercial lighting.

Member David Culp said his only concern is for the turtles. He recommended restricting lighting to the west side of Lumina Avenue.

Street end steps

During the last new business item, Wilson asked board members to consider creating standards for resident requests to place steps at street ends.

Wilson recommended architect-designed steps for consistency and asked if the board wanted to adopt a percentage of street residents required for step approval.

While the town would cover the design cost initially, residents would apply and pay for the steps. One couple has been interested in steps for about eight months.

Staff will compile a list of applicable street ends to bring back to the board.

Vice chairman Ken Dull was absent from the meeting.

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