Reshaping of Bridgton continues

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Bridgton appears to be turning an economic development corner.

With a clearer (not precise one yet) picture emerging as to the amount of sewage allocation available as the result of a new calculation formula, the Bridgton Planning Board gave approvals Tuesday night to three projects:

  • Standard Gastropub on Main Street now has the green light to open a deck area located behind the popular eatery.

Owner Will Holmes had sought additional sewage allocation to accommodate 40-plus customers, who now can take food items to the outdoor seating area.

Holmes plans to schedule some acoustic musical acts and other “low-key” entertainment.

Sewage Superintendent Jim Kidder (the town’s public works director) informed code officer Robbie Baker that preliminary numbers from the town’s engineer indicate sewage allocation can be increased. Firmer numbers are expected soon.

  • That revelation spelled good news for Justin McIver of Main Echo Homes. McIver had a proposed 26’ x 70’, two-story professional building plan put on hold in early July until the sewage allocation issue was settled.

The 2 Cottage Street structure covers 3,640 square feet. Jeff Amos of Terradyn Consultants LLC of New Gloucester (representing McIver) informed planners that the plan had a few minor revisions.

First, the building’s position has been shifted to allow a patio to face Main Street, while parking (13 spaces total) will be toward the back.

Secondly, the original plan called for professional space downstairs and apartments upstairs. Now, the building will house “mixed uses,” which will be retail and possibly restaurant space (a total of six units — two businesses on the first floor and four upstairs). There will be one “common restroom” on the second floor.

Like his retail store on the old Sportshaus site, McIver will install a signpost indicating businesses located at the 2 Cottage Street building.

McIver informed planners that he is in discussion with a neighbor regarding fencing. The two parties have decided to “wait and see what the building looks like” and then address fencing.

McIver expects construction to begin this fall.

Planners, meanwhile, will seek a letter of sewage allocation from Kidder, and then put the project through the final Findings of Fact process for final approval at their Aug. 16 meeting.

  • After weighing remodeling vs. razing the old Main Street Variety store building on Main Street, new owners Joan Wilson and Jimmy Burke found demolition is the best route.

Engineer and surveyor George Sawyer (representing Wilson and Burke) told planners the proposed new structure will actually be slightly smaller than the current one, and will likely house “three entities,” — a restaurant (40 seats), ice cream shop and something else.

“The exact occupants are not known right now,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer pointed out that the new building will be slightly smaller because the current structure is “a foot or two” on the abutting property, owned by Peter and Judy Oberg.

In regards to sewer allocation, the new project retains what existed when Main Street Variety was operational. Burke noted that additional allocation had been purchased months ago.

Because the building sits in the floodplain, a waterproof foundation will be installed, as well as steel-plated doors that fit into grooves in the concrete foundation that will create a watertight seal (designed by Matt Miller, a structural engineer in Windham), Sawyer said.

The building’s roof will slope toward the rear of the structure, as it currently does.

When asked if the old foundation will be demolished, Sawyer noted that there isn’t one and much like the old Magic Lantern building, the current store is “sitting on muck.”

The project received tentative approval, and will undergo final Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law at the Aug. 16 planning board meeting.

  • In other business, planners gave approval with conditions to Ethan Mayes and Rose Guay to operate a gunsmithing business at 177 Monk Road.

Mayes told planners that he has no intention of operating a gun shop or employing other workers. He is easing into the gunsmithing business as a spare-time job, for the moment. He hopes to make it a full-time venture later.

Mayes, who is taking online courses in gunsmithing, will operate his business from an existing workshop. His driveway can accommodate six to seven vehicles, Mayes told planners.

“I have no intention in putting out a sign or to publicly advertise. I plan on being very discrete,” he said.

Mayes plans to install a security system, and could increase secured storage. He added that if he had to test a repaired weapon, he would go to a shooting range, not fire the gun or rifle on his property.

Conditions attached by planners include operational time from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., limit clients at the location to four to six at one time, and Mayes is limited by his license to repair and make simple modifications to weapons (not able to modify or alter for special uses Class 3 weapons).

Planners will do a Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law at their Aug. 16 meeting.

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