Noise concerns voiced, Tarry A While amusement permit approved

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

People from across the country and the globe choose to rent guest accommodations on The Ridge because of the area’s scenic beauty and tranquility.

They love hearing the loons call.

They enjoy the peace that surrounds Highland Lake.

Those characteristics are main calling cards for Daniel and Roseana Richards, owners of Tarry A While.

The same holds true for Diane and Hopewell Darneille, who own property that abuts Tarry A While and offer seasonal rentals.

While those living on The Ridge look to be good neighbors and respectful of all, the special amusement permit application by the Richards spurred some debate regarding what is excessive noise and the importance of maintaining a quiet existence there.

The Darneilles presented some concerns to selectmen at the board’s May 22 meeting, which resulted in tabling action on the permit until the Richards, who purchased the inn in 2013, could give a firmer outline as to their plans.

Roseana Richards explained to selectmen Tuesday night that the inn offers a public lobster bake on Friday nights during the summer season, as well as hosting private events and weddings. The couple hopes to grow the wedding business and, to date, have five scheduled. The permit seeks allowance of entertainment no later than 11 p.m.

Richards noted that Tarry A While has a strict policy regarding “excessive noise,” which wedding parties are clearly made aware of before a contract is signed. It includes being asked to leave the premises if rules are violated, as well as facing an additional $1,000 charge.

“We are there until the function is closed down,” Richards said. “We live there and work the event.” She added that if noise is a problem, the couple wants to know. Just call.

Hopewell Darneille said noise hadn’t been a problem because Tarry A While traditionally had small wedding gatherings, averaging 50 to 60 people. Now, the inn is advertising that it can accommodate up to 200 people. Citing a guide on the state’s website regarding noise and what communities might consider as ways to address it, Darneille pointed out that a band reaches noise decibels of 110, which he feels is excessive for his guests, neighbors, as well as property owners along Highland Lake, which likely also hear the sounds generated by functions at Tarry A While.

Board chairman Greg Watkins noted that Bridgton does not have a noise ordinance, and selectmen would apply standards in the Special Amusement Ordinance when considering Tarry A While’s request.

As a compromise, Darneille suggested reducing the 11 p.m. cut-off time to 10 p.m., and having the town’s code enforcement officer check decibel levels at the property line (55 to 65 would be acceptable).

Richards told selectmen that a 10 p.m. limit would likely result in loss of potential business, which would be difficult to make up since the inn, which sets on 23-acres, is open for a few short months.

Following a 47-minute public hearing, selectmen voted 5–0 to approve Richards’ permit request (no restrictions).

In other board notes:

Campground rates up…The cost of a waterfront lot at Salmon Point Campground will jump six percent. The town has increased lot rates by three percent each year but, on a recommendation by campground manager Robert Morse, selectmen backed a six percent hike for shore lots.

The campground budget is set at $114,852. Town Manager Bob Peabody outlined that revenue checked in at $155,338. Minus $30,000 that is used to offset Rec Department expenses and the campground budget, Salmon Point produced a $10,485 profit.

…Add some amenities. With campground lot prices going up, Morse proposed that the town be able to offer more amenities. One way to bring the campground community together, Morse said, is to develop a common area that will include a 16-by-18 open pole barn with a metal roof, two horseshoe pits, a bocce court, corn hole game area, and a fire pit surrounded by beach sand. He estimated the cost at $10,000.

While selectmen backed the idea, chairman Greg Watkins mentioned that local residents have grumbled about the extended walk to the beach from a new parking area, and feel they are being somewhat “pushed out.”

Selectman Bob McHatton disagreed, feeling the new walking path clearly defines the campground area and where taxpayers can venture.

Generous act. Jeff Frey takes great pride in his attention to detail as the town’s Clerk of the Works (he has overseen the Salmon Point bathroom, Bridgton Community Center and Town Office projects).

He takes even greater pride, according to Town Manager Bob Peabody, in helping local children.

Frey donated his $6,300 stipend to the Bridgton Recreation Department to fund 12 scholarships to the program’s Summer Camp.

Grant sends more kids to camp. More local children will be able to attend the Rec Department’s Summer Camp thanks to the town landing a $9,000 grant for scholarships from the Narragansett I Foundation.

The program, which has a five-member staff, includes “enrichment” field trips.

Initially, Rec Director Gary Colello sought $10,000 during the budget process to fund scholarships for low-income families. But, selectmen trimmed the request to $7,875. Since Rec landed the grant, board chairman Greg Watkins wondered if the amount funded by the town could be pulled back and thus reduce the budget, thinking any savings could help local senior taxpayers.

Town Manager Bob Peabody pointed out that $52,000 to $53,000 is budgeted for outside agencies that help local residents, including seniors. He felt keeping the additional money for rec purposes will help service local youth, either during this fiscal year or next.

At the moment, Colello is still collecting applications for camp scholarships, thus was unable to give an exact number of kids to be served this summer.

Selectman Bear Zaidman suggested that the town draw down money from the grant first, and then place the balance (including the town budgeted money) in a scholarship fund that could be used next summer.

Getting organized. An organizational meeting for the Ordinance Review Committee will be held tonight, Thursday, June 14 at 6:15 p.m. in the selectmen’s meeting room at the Town Office.

Streetscape designs for Main and Lower Main Streets are coming together, and will soon be up for public review.

HEB Engineering has completed high-level preliminary plans for Main Street, but are also working on an alternative layout design that doesn’t narrow the roadway as much and also provides for several cost-savings measures.

At a previous meeting, selectmen questioned the amount of vehicle travel space in the heart of the downtown, especially considering the number of tractor trailers that daily roll along Main Street. Selectmen voiced concern regarding people trying to exit vehicles parked near Renys, and whether officials may have to consider elimination of parking slots in tight travel areas.

“The goal would be to get clear direction on the path forward at that (review) meeting so that they can complete the final design,” Town Manager Bob Peabody wrote in his manager’s report. “They do not anticipate it taking too long to finish the final design plans after that.”

A presentation will be made to selectmen for final approval.

Milone & McBroom had a few minor issues with the surveyor’s data regarding the Lower Main Street plan, but have since “cleared those up” and are proceeding with the design.

Peabody reported that preliminary design should be received by the last week of June for review, followed by a project meeting with key staff members. A presentation to selectmen will then be made for design final approval.

Milone & McBroom has sent proposed alternatives regarding the intersection study to Maine Department of Transportation. A presentation will be made to selectmen for final approval.

Office closed. The town office will be closed on Thursday, June 21 from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the Wellness Committee Employee Barbecue.

Wanted, ACO. Jacqueline Frye has resigned as Bridgton’s Animal Control Officer to accept the same position with the Town of Windham. The town has started advertising the vacancy.

Airboat refurbishing. Six fire department members last Sunday started to refurbish the airboat. Over 20 “man hours” were spent on the initial breakdown to the bare hull. Thanks to Deputy Chief Paul Field, his wife Lee-Anne, Captains Brad Vincent and Nathan Frank, as well as Acting Captain Tom Harriman for their efforts on this project.

Dog Days of Bridgton. Nate and Carol Sunday, owners of Tasteful Things on Depot Street, plan to celebrate dogs and pet owners on Aug. 4 with an event called, Dog Days of Bridgton.

The event is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m.

Carol Sunday told selectmen the hours were selected based on closing time of the Farmers Market as well as arrival of patrons of Vivo’s and the Depot Street Taphouse.

Dog Days will take place behind the Bridgton Community Center and make use of the Depot Street parking lot. There will be local vendors providing food and pet supplies, as well as booths for area animal shelters.

“I know of other towns that have done this, and it’s gone very well,” Sunday said.

Organizers will be held to rules and regulations regarding the use of town-owned property, such as waste disposal and cleanup.

Next meeting. The next regular meeting of the Bridgton Board of Selectmen will be held on Tuesday, June 26 at 5 p.m.

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