Tivoli restaurant owner Franco Zuluaga is ready to expand again.

This time, he plans to put a 12-by-18-foot gazebo to the south of his present patio -- now replete with awning -- at 7 Main St. in New Milford.

A public hearing is set May 24 before the Zoning Commission on his special permit request to construct a paved parking lot on the adjacent property at 59 Bridge St.

The gazebo would be sited on the lot's east side.

The special permit application was submitted by Mr. Zuluaga under the business name Tivoli Parking LLC., a limited partnership that purchased the Bridge Street parcel in June 2009.

"We're trying to make the corner look nice, put in some landscaping and improve the corner," said Mr. Zuluaga, who has a long-term lease on the restaurant space.

"I think a lot of people would use the gazebo to socialize, have drinks. It will be a nice amenity to the restaurant," he said.

The gazebo would be constructed of decorative black wrought iron with a red canopy top matching the awning now over the existing patio.

Plantings would be installed and a black wrought-iron railing would extend from the patio, matching the railing in place.

Former 59 Bridge St. property owner Tom Pilla thinks the gazebo will be great for outdoor dining.

"Paving that lot, adding the gazebo would be a tremendous positive," Mr. Pilla said. "It would enhance the entrance to our community.

"That corner has gone from a rundown gas station to now having the potential to set the entrance to our town," he said.

"It's an aesthetically beautiful view from that corner and this will add to it."

Mr. Zuluaga has a past record of success in zoning issues.

His 2009 application to install the patio awning on the historic building was approved.

When he then requested to enclose the awninged area in fall and winter, zoners again nodded in approval.

"Paving that lot, adding the gazebo would be a tremendous positive. It would enhance the entrance to our community."

Tom Pilla

New Milford resident