CHAGRIN FALLS — Plans for a proposed retaining wall at Batuqui Restaurant, 17 E. Orange St., came as a surprise to the village Architectural Review Board during a Tuesday morning meeting when members learned work on the structure was well underway.

Village Zoning Inspector Harry Edwards advised the board that he stopped progress on the project after the restaurant owners were told the property owner Ronnie Kertesz had approved plans to proceed. But this was not the case.

“I talked to him one day and the next they are carving out the hillside and we have no plans,” Mr. Edwards told the board.

He said cement work had already begun on the project when he ordered work to stop and did not offer a size or scale of the work completed but board Chairman Steven King, clearly upset at the news, offered that whoever was responsible “had better not put away their jackhammer for the winter.”

Speaking for the project was general contractor David McDowell, a friend of the Batuqui Restaurant owners Carla Batista and Gustavo Nogueira.

The project architect was not named and was not in attendance at the meeting although Mr. McDowell, himself an architect, said that he could answer questions and offered to meet with board members at the site to go over details.

“We were all under the impression the plans were approved by Ronnie Kertesz and began to build,” he said.

At first Mr. Kertesz, by phone, said he did not want to discuss the matter but defended himself saying, “People can say anything they want to, but I never told anyone to go ahead.”

Mr. Edwards told the board he is investigating what Batuqui was approved for in terms of number of outdoor seats and other possible zoning issues.

Mr. McDowell presented the board with a plan for outdoor lighting from the sidewalk through the patio to the front door of the restaurant. Dr. King pointed out there has been no approved plans for lighting either and since the restaurant is next door to a residential neighborhood, lighting is a crucial piece of information. 

With so little information, every detail is important, architect and adviser George Clemens added.

Board members agreed drawings and elevations and a walk through of the property would be helpful and necessary before the Dec. 1 board meeting.

Mr. McDowell revealed he was a residential architect with a specialty in historical structures. The restaurant location at 17 E. Orange St. is a historical brick home which, he pointed out, has been badly patched in the past. The restaurant owners want to make appropriate improvements to the property, he said.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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