vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Amy’s Cafe appeals to board for work on deck, new trellis

(Update: George Washington Supervisor Bob Thomas was absent from Tuesday’s meeting, meaning that the appeal will come back to the board at their first February meeting.)

The new owner of the 1820s building that’s home to Amy’s Cafe has many plans for upgrades and renovations.

But Paul Eakin needs the OK from the Architectural Review Board for certain aspects of the project since the building is in a designated historic district.

He got approval earlier this month for most of the planned improvements to the Falmouth Bottom house, such as for woodwork, new front doors, exterior lighting and an addition, but not for a new deck and trellis for better outdoor dining.

He’s appealing the ARB’s decision to the Board of Supervisors this week, after ARB members voted against the work. It’ll come up at the end of the 3 p.m. portion of Tuesday’s meeting. (Here are related documents, and here is the full meeting agenda.)

Eakin proposed a new cement patio to replace the existing wooden deck, which sits in front of the two-story house at 103 West Cambridge Street. The six-year-old restaurant offers outdoor dining during warmer parts of the year. Eakin said at the Jan. 9 ARB meeting that the deck’s current boards sometimes cause problems, like people tripping or table legs getting caught on warped parts.

Eakin and restaurateur Amy Johnson also want to add a trellis above the patio that wouldn’t be attached to the house. He told the ARB that umbrellas often get blown around and the trellis would offer a cleaner look.

ARB members expressed concerns over the impact of using nonhistoric materials on the site. They approved most of the other work in Eakin’s request.

Last fall, the county’s Economic Development Authority gave a $60,000 grant to Eakin for improvements. (Here’s that story.) The county also recently constructed sidewalks in front of the cafe and along Washington Street as a connector between Belmont and the trail that runs along River Road and through Pratt and Brooks parks.