PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Superior Court judge has shot down an appeal in an ongoing zoning dispute involving Iggy’s Doughboys, paving the way for a fast-food restaurant to move in next door in Warwick.
The appeal was filed by S.G. Associates, owner of Iggy’s, to have the court overturn a Warwick Zoning Board ruling that granted multiple zoning variances to James Rengigas, who was trying to build a similar restaurant in the lot at 875 Oakland Beach Ave., directly adjacent to an Iggy’s restaurant.
Rengigas wanted to build a Mrs. Gus’s Doughboys on the land and said that the land, which he owns, was the site of the original Gus’s Restaurant. A house currently sits on the property, and Rengigas proposed to demolish it and build a new restaurant.
According to court filings, his first application, filed in late 2014, was denied because the building he proposed was too big for the size of the property. S.G. Associates attended both of the public hearings on the application and argued in opposition to it.
Rengigas re-filed two months after the board’s decision, modifying his plan somewhat: he then proposed a smaller building and requested several other variances, including reduced setbacks from the property line for the front yard, side yard, and parking spaces, and a landscape buffer smaller than what was required.
During the hearings on the second application, an engineer testified that the number of variances that Rengigas was requesting was evidence that the proposed project was not a good fit for the property, and expressed concerns over the lack of parking available and the effects on local traffic.
Despite that, the board approved the second application with the variances.
S.G. Associates appealed to Superior Court, which denied the appeal, ruling that the number of variances requested was acceptable because of the hardship to Rengigas that the size and zoning of the property presented: despite being zoned for General Business, the house stood there on the lot since 1934, and putting a restaurant there in its place would be in keeping with and appropriate for the rest of the area and not just an attempt at financial gain by forcing a restaurant into an area where it didn’t belong.
The court refused to consider some procedural points on whether or not Rengigas should have been allowed to file a second application so soon after his first was denied.
Iggy’s told Eyewitness News that the restaurant had no comment on the decision or whether or not it plans to appeal.