Porta Montclair gets the green light to move ahead with plans for a rear elevated deck. (PORTA)

Patrons of Porta Montclair will soon have an additional outdoor space to eat and drink. The township’s Planning Board on Monday gave the green light to the restaurant’s application for a second-floor deck at the rear of the building.

The Planning Board unanimously approved the proposal, a 1,106-square-foot deck that would seat 48 people at tables with removable umbrellas. The space would be accessed by two overhead garage doors at the back of the restaurant’s upper level, according to the application. The plan also includes enlarging the trash enclosure by 50 square feet and restriping the five parking spaces. New lighting would also be installed: two overhead lights for the parking area and lighting fixtures around the perimeter of the eating deck, per the plan. The application also includes landscaping of the deck area.

The proposed plan would be “improving an existing business in the downtown area” and providing an outdoor option for patrons, Porta’s planner, Matthew Flynn, told the board. The building would remain unchanged, Flynn said.

The deck, at almost 62 feet long, would be a “positive experience,” said Porta co-owner James Watt. It would be used extensively “when weather allows,” he said, as the space is open to the elements. Space heaters could be used to warm patrons in colder months, Watt told the board.

Image of rear deck from site plan. (MONTCLAIR TOWNSHIP)

The restaurant was seeking a variance of township code, with a rear-yard setback less than what is required. An earlier version of the plan had the edge of the deck at Porta’s rear property line, making the distance less than 3 feet from the parking deck. But with concerns about someone jumping from one structure to the other, restaurant officials shortened the balcony so that the revised plan showed the balcony as 10 feet from the parking deck and 7 feet, 4 inches from the property line. Township code requires a rear-yard setback of 10 feet from the property line.

Board members expressed concerns about the impact of trash pick up. Watt said the trash is already picked up “multiple times a week” and that could become more frequent depending on the need, he said.

Township Planning Director Janice Talley was concerned that the proposed lighting was too dim for the parking area; brighter lights would increase safety, she said. The application was approved contingent upon Porta’s experts conferring with township officials on an updated lighting plan.

Porta is located at 499 Bloomfield Avenue, near the intersection of Park Street.