Footbridge Brewery co-owner Dan Pangburn reported an increase in business to the planning board July 8. The board approved an amendment June 10 allowing extra outdoor seating,and selectmen granted an extension of alcohol on premises June 24. Pangburn said the first three days with outdoor seating – three tables and one bench – accounted for over a quarter of the month’s revenue.
“It went so well that Betty (Maddocks) offered the use and extended the lease to the side alleyway of the building,” Pangburn said.
Though the brewery is more akin to a production facility and tasting room setup, Pangburn said because it does not serve food, the state classifies it as a bar. Due to pandemic restrictions, bars cannot serve indoors. As of June 22, Stage 3 of the state’s reopening plan has delayed the July 1 reopening of indoor seating for bars until further notice.
“That means the Mills administration has limited us to no indoor seating. So, we are trying to run a business with only three tables outside. It's definitely placed a hardship on us.”
Pangburn said the brewery's retail sales were down 56% in June and wholesale to restaurants was down over 70%.
Pangburn said he was hoping the board would grant some sort of temporary allowance until the board and selectmen could review and decide on the changes he would like to make allowing six to eight picnic tables in the alleyway.
Pangburn said it took eight weeks from submitting all paperwork to the towns to opening outdoor seating. "While I submitted a new application drawing the extended area, letter of intent from Betty and Sewall Maddocks, state pre-approval for the area, and application fee exactly two weeks (ago), I was informed that we missed the deadline to get the public announcement in the paper for this week. This puts us on the agenda for the planning board meeting Aug. 12 which is seven weeks since the application was submitted. Let's not forget we will need selectmen's approval after that … I'm here today to ask for your help …”
Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Smith said neither he nor the planning board has the power to issue a temporary allowance of any kind. Board members suggested if the required periods of advertising for each meeting line up just right, they would be willing to call a special meeting so Pangburn could go before selectmen at the earliest possible meeting.
Chair Tom Churchill said the board is required to do a number of things before it can give any permissions. “We need to go down and take a look at it, we need to have a regular application with a site plan that shows the leased area and number of tables, where the alleyway goes and how it's used now.”
In other business, Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation continued a tabled application meeting for the proposed east side waterfront park on Atlantic Avenue. MRLD Landscape Architecture + Urbanism principal Mitchell Rasor represented the group. He outlined changes discussed previously. Rasor was looking for project approval; however, the application was considered incomplete without a Department of Environmental Protection permit, which is still being sought.