Downtown Bridgton bars take heat from neighbors

 

RESPECT NEIGHBORS — Ovide Corbiel of Gibbs Avenue addressed Bridgton Selectmen Tuesday about noise from late-night partiers at Standard Gastropub, located at the corner of Main Street and Gibbs Avenue.  (Photo by Gail Geraghty)

RESPECT NEIGHBORS — Ovide Corbiel of Gibbs Avenue addressed Bridgton Selectmen Tuesday about noise from late-night partiers at Standard Gastropub, located at the corner of Main Street and Gibbs Avenue. (Photo by Gail Geraghty)

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Two downtown restaurants, the Bridgton House of Pizza and Standard Gastropub, came under fire at Tuesday’s Bridgton Selectmen meeting for letting their late-night drinking customers get out of hand. Standard Gastropub’s owner William Holmes, however, faced an additional charge of ignoring a stop-work order on his plans to build an outside seating and entertainment area.

Selectmen questioned Holmes and BHOP owner Spyro Hronarakis and took comments from neighbors for close to an hour, before ultimately granting victualer and liquor license renewals to both businesses. In the case of Standard Gastropub, the license only applies to the indoors, since questions remain about the status of his request for a revision of its original Planning Board approval to occupy the former gas station at the corner of Gibbs Avenue and Main Street.

Hronarakis, whose business is nearby across Main Street, said that he cut back his closing time a couple of months ago to be the same as other businesses that serve liquor in town — 11 p.m. weekdays and midnight on weekends. He did so after Police Chief Richard Stillman raised concerns about the number of police calls over the last 10 months related to intoxicated customers descending on BHOP after the other drinking establishments close.

Stillman told the Board that he’s satisfied the issue has been addressed by Hronarakis, who offers live music the last Saturday of each month. “There’s no more surge of people coming there after the others close,” Stillman said.

Both businesses also received renewals of their special amusement permits to have live music, but in Standard Gastropub’s case, approval only applies to the indoors until the outdoor seating issue can be cleared up.

Holmes maintains that he was only building a “detached nonstructure surface” when, only days after Code Enforcement Officer issued his second stop-work order on June 8, Holmes began construction activity outside his business. Baker’s first stop-work order was issued Oct. 15, and on June 7 the Planning Board tabled Holmes’ application for improper notification of abutters.

During the public hearing, neighbor Susan Hatch said that Holmes has shown a “lack of respect” to neighbors’ noise complaints. Another neighbor, Ovide Corbiel, said he didn’t have a problem with Standard Gastropub’s music as long as it is moved indoors by 11 p.m.

Deputy Town Manager Georgiann Fleck said Holmes needs a building permit because the outdoor seating is a revision to his original approval. Town Manager Bob Peabody urged the board to use caution with the entertainment license, because “You’re being asked to approve an application that has some kind of illegal aspect to it.”

Holmes said he would lose substantial income if he had to wait until the Planning Board’s next meeting on July 5 to offer any entertainment at all.

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