Oakley: new home for classic diner? | ParkRecord.com

Oakley: new home for classic diner?

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Classic booths and soda bar stools would be new additions in Oakley if the town becomes home to a diner that was built in 1939.

The South Summit hamlet of roughly 1,200 people would have two restaurants if the restored diner is brought to Oakley from Middletown, R.I. The other restaurant in Oakley is the Polar King on State Road 32.

Oakley planning commissioners voted to deny a request from Keith Walker to rezone a triangular piece of land he owns near the corner of S.R. 32 and North Bench Road from residential to commercial real estate to accommodate the restaurant that seats 46 people.

Oakley officials met with the developer behind closed doors to discuss other possible locations last Thursday.

"This is in regards to city property right in the middle of the town, right where the rodeo grounds is," Oakley Mayor Blake Frazier said. "We’re trying to work on it and get a location for [the diner.]"

No final decision has been made in regard to the project, he stressed.

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"It’s a novel-type business and a restaurant-type business," Frazier said adding that Oakley needs more commercial development. "We’ve got a small downtown area that we’re hoping to get some redevelopment on."

Those who opposed rezoning the property situated at the northern end of Oakley claimed a business would disturb a nearby cemetery.

"This property is located at one of the primary entrances to Oakley. Whatever is built on that corner property will be the first introduction thousands of visitors have to our community," stated a flier that asked residents to oppose rezoning the land.

A business would also make the road more dangerous at that location and negatively impact the city’s sewer and water systems, opponents claimed.

"Allowing commercial zoning to take place in a haphazard manner without a master plan that looks to the future will create a fractured and disjointed community," the flier stated.

Those against rezoning the land urged officials to purchase the triangular parcel for a city park.