Casa Dominick’s, a rustic European café known for its laid-back atmosphere and vast selection of sangria, is in the process of obtaining approval for an expansion that could provide much more than a meal and a few good drinks for its customers.
Dominick’s owner Richard DeVarti has plans to turn four parcels of land surrounding his restaurant into expanded seating areas, a bed and breakfast, a coffee shop, a retail store, residential apartments or office buildings, provided the City of Ann Arbor approves his petition to have the property rezoned.
DeVarti owns the four properties of land near the restaurant — 705 Oakland Ave., 706 Tappan Ave., 700 Tappan Ave., and 808 Monroe St. — in addition to the two that his restaurant currently sits on — 812 and 814 Monroe St.
As part of the petition process, a public forum will be held tonight at 6 p.m. at Dominick’s. The forum will allow Ann Arbor residents to learn more about the proposed zoning changes and voice concerns.
DeVarti is petitioning to have the six parcels rezoned as a Planned Unit Development. A PUD is a type of building development that includes a grouping of varied and compatible land uses, like housing, recreation and industrial parks, all contained in one development.
If approved, the PUD zoning would allow additions, renovations and alterations to properties.
DeVarti will submit the petition, including comments from tonight’s meeting, to the Ann Arbor Planning Commission on Jan. 26. The Planning Commission will then review the petition on March 17.
The commission will make a recommendation to City Council at a later date, at which point the council will determine whether or not to approve the PUD proposal.
DeVarti said he inherited the property that holds the restaurant from his parents, who established the Ann Arbor institution in 1960, and slowly acquired the other four parcels of land from then on.
In the interview, he stressed that alterations made to the properties would strive to maintain the overall appearance of the restaurant and the surrounding neighborhood.
“It would be nice to be able to incorporate some of those buildings into a larger scale without ruining the architecture of the building or the neighborhood,” he said. “There will be gradual minor change over the years.”