Despite opposition from several members of the community, the Conditional Use Permit for Galway Public House was approved in a vote of 5-1 by Gulf Shores City Council on Aug. 28. The permit …
Despite opposition from several members of the community, the Conditional Use Permit for Galway Public House was approved in a vote of 5-1 by Gulf Shores City Council on Aug. 28.
The permit application for the bar/lounge was first presented at a public works meeting on June 28 and was further discussed at a July 17 work session. This proposal was advertised for one month, going to vote at Monday night's meeting.
The building was originally called Waterway Wines when the site plan was approved in June 2022, with documents indicating it would be a retail wine store, wine tasting room and limited restaurant. However, the proposal that was approved states the space will be converted into a bar/lounge with four multifamily units on the upper floor and 15 remote parking spaces.
As of now, the building is limited to 45 indoor seats and 14 outdoor seats. However, once parking is expanded, restaurant seating could potentially expand to 102.
At the July 17 work session, an audience member raised several questions about the proposal, questioning the concept of the restaurant and the shift from Waterway Wines to Galway Public House. She also voiced concerns that, if approved, it would cause a disruption to nearby businesses and children in the Gulf Pines and surrounding neighborhood.
At the Aug. 28 meeting, Mayor Robert Craft held a public hearing where several other audience members took to the podium voicing concerns over noise, parking and drunk drivers, asking council to vote against the application.
"I know that Gulf Shores is a family-oriented city, and I do not believe that a bar would be suitable in the environment we live in," said one audience member. "Especially one that ends at 11 p.m.. I need that time to focus with no loud music blaring. There have also been recent street crashes, which seem to be alcohol-related incidents."
This will not be the first establishment that serves alcohol in the area, as Big Beach Brewing and The Sloop have been established for years.
Another audience member expressed concerns that patrons would park in his shopping center due to the lack of parking at the facility.
"I own the shopping center down the street. If they have overflow parking, what are the conditions I can call upon to stop the parking on my site?" he asked.
Craft said the city will have officers patrolling the area, ticketing or towing cars who may be parked in private areas.
Council said that while the restaurant can currently seat 60 people inside with the parking they have, it will be their responsibility to build any additional parking for the restaurant.
Jay Dickson, city planning manager, said three off-site parking options are currently being considered for the restaurant.
"The first option would be to share a parking lot with Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church on the east side of East 2nd Street, and the second option is to purchase public parking credits for 15 of the 130 on-street parking spaces being constructed by the city along East 2nd Street," Dickson read from official meeting documents. "The last option would be to construct 15 on-street parking spaces along the south side of 22nd Avenue."
A representative from Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church told council the church was not aware of their involvement in the parking situation, and no formal agreement has been made with the restaurant.
"I'm not excited about the church parking spots or crossing the street," Craft said. "But the spots on the south side of 22nd makes perfect sense to me. You could fit 15 spaces there that would accommodate their needs and the public could use at any time."