Diners at the The Rockfish Restaurant in Eastport could be enjoying their meals outdoors by Spring 2013 thanks to a ruling by Annapolis' Board of Appeals.
The board unanimously approved a special exception permit to build a rooftop deck that will seat up to 54 people.
The restaurant at 400 Sixth St. will become the first one to this type of outdoor dining in the convenience shopping and community shopping districts. City Council amended the zoning laws to allow for rooftop dining in May 2011.
"There really is a lack of outdoor dining for the city which is so oriented," board member James Gregory said. "I think this is a good way to put this ordinance in place."
Rooftop dining was always part of Rockfish's business plan. Daniel Ball, a Columbia-based architect who designed Rockfish in 2004, told the board in December that he included an outdoor dining area when he submitted his original designs to the city.
"It was always our hope or aspiration to have roof top dining. Our customers have repeatedly asked ‘are we going to be able to eat outside?’” Rockfish's managing partner Gregory Casten told Patch in December.
Eastport residents who live near the restaurant complained about trash and noise to the board and worried whether outdoor dining would exacerbate those problems.
"I was impressed with the effort and extent to which they were going to address the noise," board chair Christian Zazzali said.
Rockfish's proposed deck will not have outdoor music or amplified sound, and it will include sound mitigating wall panels on three sides. The deck will also close at midngiht—two hours before Rockfish's night normally ends.
Because the patio was part of Rockfish's original plan, Casten told Patch in December that he could have the rooftop deck open with in 30 days of securing a building permit.
- Rockfish Petitions For Eastport's First Rooftop Dining Permit