Site visit planned in Sprucewold Lodge proposal
After the Boothbay Harbor Board of Appeals let Sprucewold Lodge continue operations, owner Shawn Chapps brought forth an anticipated application on March 13. The request is to construct a storage building and swimming pool and to expand parking. The planning board concluded a site visit is needed.
Chapps said plans for the lodge and restaurant at 4 and 5 Nahanada Road is to decrease 30 rooms to 22 rooms and 135 restaurant seats to 80. This would inch the properties much closer to the required amount of parking, though the board pointed out that existing nonconforming structures may not be held to such strict standards.
Several agreed the big need for Sprucewold Lodge is parking; however, the board has received letters of concern that current plans will take down too many trees. Abutters Jim Smith, David Plunkett and Bill Cossaboon were among those with concerns.
“… Sprucewold means ‘spruce woods,’” said Smith. “I understand the parking, I honestly do … but there's got to be a better way than things like this … Can't we cut down somehow on the amount of tree-cutting that is going to be done?”
Said Cossaboon, “We didn't buy (the house) because of the lodge and the restaurant, we bought it because of the Sprucewold community, the main woods, the wildlife and so on.”
Hamblen clarified that since the property is not in the shoreland zone, tree-cutting is essentially permitted anywhere on a lot. Two provisions in the town's ordinances say felled trees and scraps cannot be left on the ground and cutting is permitted to the extent it is practical for structures like parking and utilities. And the board does not rule on desirability or general character, but solely on whether or not an application meets zoning codes.
Chapps said his goals are not simply to clearcut, but to provide necessary parking, manage fire safety, and keep Sprucewold Lodge in the character of its surrounding community.
Ice Cream Factory a go
Downeast Ice Cream Factory was approved for a second location. Planning board members unanimously approved owner Bob Bua's application to open the 185 Townsend Avenue “small mall” location which will serve as the downtown business's ice cream making facility.
“What I realized and learned from key employees … is it's a tight spot. It's hard to make enough ice cream and still deal with the lines in late July and August,” Bua said.
The new location sits adjacent to Boothbay House of Pizza and at about 2000 square feet, ice cream will be made in the back and sold out front among booth seating, said Bua. With heat and air conditioning, Bua hopes to continue operations in the new location most likely shutting down only for January and February.
Said Bua, “The town of Boothbay Harbor has never had ice cream, homemade, after the summer season.”
Resident Jane Carpenter came forward with concerns about construction blasting and a lack of communication with municipal government and townspeople.
“I was at home and I could feel my house shake. It's not the first time it's happened, it happens occasionally when there's construction going on,” Carpenter said of a recent blasting.
The last time this happened, Carpenter called Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Smith, who offered to take a drive and try to figure out who it was. It was their second recent conversation on the fact that Boothbay Harbor has no blasting ordinance or requirement for builders to notify the town.
“As a property owner in Boothbay Harbor I ought to be able to reach out and say 'stop it,' 'who's doing it,' or 'where is this occurring' and I don't have that option.”
Hamblen and board member Margaret Perritt both said they have had similar experiences. Perritt said she lost the ceilings in the third floor of her house years ago.
“I think you are correct in that there is somewhat of a hole in our oversight … I thought there was a regulation that requires at least notification, but I must admit that … I couldn't find it.”
The board decided to form a subcommittee. Resident Elbridge Giles spoke to some of the nuances of blasting.
“It's a slippery slope and so far we have two people who know nothing about blasting on the (board). I'm going to suggest that if you start into something like that, you get as many as you can on the committee who know anything about blasting.”
Asked by Hamblen if he was volunteering, Giles said he would.
This article has been updated from its original posting.