Former Vonnie’s Site Proposed For New Businesses

Vonnie’s Restaurant and Hunting Supply Store in Kent County near Kennedyville was a landmark. When the business closed and the building housing it was torn down early this year, it left a discernible gap in the distinctive character of the community. That is about to change. On October 1, Scott Mason appeared before the Kent County Planning Commission to lay out plans for new businesses on the site. They include a new restaurant, a new convenience store, a new hunting supply store, and a new home for Chesapeake Diesel, his farm equipment dealership.

Mason and architect Kevin Shearon showed concept plans for the site. They begin with the removal of internal lot lines to make five separate parcels into a single 14.2-acre parcel. A house now on the lot will be removed, and an existing pole barn and fuel pumps and canopy at the gas station will be retained.

Two new buildings, approximately 10,000 square feet each, will be erected. One will house the restaurant and two retail stores and the other the tractor supply and repair operation. The restaurant and stores would face Route 213, and the tractor dealership would be on Browntown Road. The retail building on Route 213 would have a mezzanine that Mason said would provide a secure area for gun display and storage. An electrical security gate would close the area at night.

Shearon also said that the entrances to the lot along Route 213 would be moved about 70 feet north, farther from the gas pumps. Deliveries would be from Browntown Road. There would be 94 parking spaces for the restaurant and two retail stores, Shearon said, except for handicap spaces located at the side and rear of the building. Brown suggested providing a rear entrance to accommodate the handicap parking, but Mason said he wanted to limit the number of entrances for better security. The stormwater management area would be on the lot toward Browntown Road.

The commissioners had some discussion about the space available for trucks and cars pulling trailers at the gas pump and along the front of the restaurant building. Mason said that was one question he and Shearon were still studying, but that he would like to create parallel parking spaces for trailers behind the building. Sue Leaguer of Galena spoke in support of the application, saying it would restore jobs that were lost when Vonnie’s closed. She said that she and her husband own property diagonally across from the site.