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The new Salt Life restaurant in St. Augustine Beach received city permission to have fewer parking spaces

7:45 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Across from the volleyball courts at the St. Augustine Beach pier, construction of the new Salt Life Food Shack restaurant is underway.

Some of the volleyball players on the courts Monday think the addition could be positive for the area. 

"I think it's going to be awesome!," Shane Sheltra said.

Most people welcome the new business. Even a competing businessmen like Sunset Grille owner Peter Darios supports the eatery.  

His restaurant is just a few blocks away.

"Business is good for business because business brings business," Darios stated.

Jeff Jabot with Salt Life said the new Salt Life Food Shack will have 6,200 square feet that is air conditioned and other open-air dining.

A business of that size is required to have 118 parking spots according to St. Augustine Beach city documents, but the company asked for and received permission from the city to supply only 69 spaces.

Jabot said there wasn't space for most parking spots because of the, "dimensions of the lot and the size of the building."

That part frustrated Darios. 

He said other St. Augustine Beach restaurateurs, including himself, have wanted to expand their businesses in the past.

"Anytime an expansion was brought up, the parking issue was brought up as being the main reason why I couldn't expand," Darios explained.

"The rules are being applied differently now for some reason," Darios said at a recent public meeting. 

Salt Life is looking at valet parking options, similar to what the business does with its Jacksonville Beach location, according to Jabot.

Darios hopes the city's new precedent in parking lot rules will help him in the future.

"I think it could be good for everyone on the beach if the same rules are applied to us as they were to Salt Life," Darios said.

Meanwhile, some beachgoers worry the public lot at the pier across from the future restaurant will become even more crowded with restaurant guests. 

But others say, bring it on.

Luke Sturgis who was playing volleyball Monday said, "I feel like another quality business can't hurt. If anything it will help."

Salt Life Food Shack in St. Augustine is expected to open in September.

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