Boothbay Harbor selectmen unanimously approved new victualer and liquor licenses for Footbridge Brewery Aug. 10, allow the sale of hot food and alcoholic beverages. Co-owner Dan Pangburn said the approvals fulfill the business's move to a restaurant Class IV license allowing indoor seating. The business has been classified by the state as a bar which currently does not allow indoor seating per state regulations dealing with COVID-19.
Since the service of hot food classifies Footbridge Brewery as a restaurant, alcoholic beverages cannot be served without documentation of the product changing hands from the manufacturer to the establishment serving the product.
Said Pangburn, “… We have to sell ourselves our own alcohol. So, we have a license to manufacture it and do tastings, but to actually serve it in a restaurant we have to show that the alcohol leaves us and goes back to us … There are no real changes other than restructuring what our license is.”
The business will still have the same number of indoor tables and seating, Pangburn added.
Wharves and weirs
The board approved construction of an 82’ x 6’ pier, a 3’ x 40’ runway, and a 10’ x 30’ float at 12 Pinkham Cove Road. The project had objection from abutters Jonathan and Abgail Bees who wished to conduct an assessment on whether or not the project would prevent them from developing their own waterfront access. The Bees said property owner Kathleen Chapman plans on selling the property after the project.
“We've had the place for 20 years, now,” said Jonathan Bees. “It was in my wife's family and then it came to us … When I sit on the couch at night and look out our windows … the number one thing I see is an ocean and that point. So, I'll be looking at that dock … Obviously we can't say don't put a dock in, but I just wish it weren't as close to the property line as possible because that means it goes right into the cove and right in front of our view.”
The Bees said they would be willing to spend money on an assessment and on fees Chapman acquires by putting off the project, though the wiggle room on Chapman’s project might be too small to be noticeable. “We plan on being there forever and I hope our kids have it someday. They're going to inherit it from us – and I hope they keep it. I'd love it if they didn't have a dock (there), but I can only do what I can do.”
Selectman Denise Griffin said she was not confident the project does not harm abutting properties since the Bees are not confident the new pier would allow enough setback to develop their own. Griffin said the impact of more piers and wharves is evident and people should strive to share space when possible.
“I'm not enforcing anything, I'm suggesting that neighbors work together in a neighborly way to work toward the overall good of the neighborhood and for the town and the environment."
Selectman Ken Fitch said he agrees with Griffin on principle, but does not feel confident the board can consider rejecting a project that has already meets federal and state regulations.
Said Fitch, “… We would never be able to approve anything if we have to hypothetically figure out what a neighbor might do at some point if they choose to do it … I'm concerned that we set ourselves up for denying somebody something based off hypothetical when all we need to know is 'Was this done properly and does this meet the standards?' If it does, then we should approve.”
The board approved the project 4-1, Griffin dissenting.
Town Manager Julia Latter said tax bills have gone out and are due Sept. 8 with interest accruing starting Sept. 9, and the town's assessor will be in on Aug. 21 for meetings by appointment. Latter asked that residents cancel or reschedule appointments if they are going to miss them.
Chair Mike Tomko and Latter announced the Aug. 13 footbridge project workshop has been canceled and will be rescheduled.