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Bella Sera gets OK to expand original Marble Falls location

Bella Sera Italian Restaurant in Marble Falls

Bella Sera plans to expand the building footprint at its original location, 1125 U.S. 281, by over 3,000 square-feet. The Marble Falls City Council approved a right-of-way abandonment so the Italian restaurant could make interior and exterior improvements to the property. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Marble Falls City Council on Jan. 3 approved a right-of-way abandonment that will allow Bella Sera Italian Restaurant to expand the building and rework the parking lot at its original site, 1125 U.S. 281. 

Improvements include adding more than 3,000 square-feet of interior space and making the parking lot more accessible and attractive with sidewalks, curbing, and landscaping. 

Remodeling at the original site began in September 2021 after owners announced the restaurant’s temporary relocation to a building at 701 U.S. 281.

City staff notified 12 property owners within 200 feet of the original location of the proposed changes before the council vote. None offered feedback on comment cards the city provided. 

“We spoke to several (property owners) over the phone,” City Planner Scarlet Moreno said. “Specifically, I spoke to the owner and operator of Twin Liquors. They just wanted to know whether or not this would impede the view of their building. From what (Bella Sera) has submitted, it does not seem to do that.”

Councilor Reed Norman wanted assurance that Bella Sera owners would commit to their promise of planting and maintaining the property’s landscaping.

“Businesses will come in — I could name some, but I’m not — and they do what we tell them on landscaping, and then they pull the plug and it dies,” he said.

In response, Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel noted the difficulties in enforcing city landscaping rules.

“We don’t have the personnel on the bench to have the depth to know whether a tree died because of disease or because it wasn’t watered,” he said. 

After considering concessions for landscaping, the council move forward without additional changes to Bella Sera’s proposal, approving the motion in a 6-0 vote. Councilor Bryan Walker was absent from the meeting.

“To be honest, I’m not in favor of making any of those concessions because (the project) is already planned,” Mayor Richard Westerman said. 

The city plans to work with Bella Sera to ensure the site’s new landscaping is properly maintained and does not impede the vision of drivers.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The council voted:

nathan@thepicayune.com