The Barnhouse Grill, the proposed restaurant and bar in the former Simpson’s Fish Market at 690 Bath Road, Wiscasset, received the planning board’s final approval Jan. 13. In a public hearing, co-owner Michael Collins said the food will be eclectic, including hamburgers and hand-cut fries, chicken sandwiches, Mexican dishes, southern dishes, and some regional favorites. Collins and co-owners Dan Dyer and Dana Long hope to open April 1.
Little is going to be done to the interior; Collins said he wants it to look like a barn, with farmhouse style tables and chairs. It will be repainted and decorated with antiques from local stores, he said. On the exterior, the group plans to add “minor” things including a cupola and a low fence out front. They also anticipate growing vegetables on-site and using them in the restaurant. The restaurant cannot open until the water district and sewer department can hook up lines, after the ground softens in the spring.
The planning board also held a public hearing for changes to the Historic Preservation Ordinance, which will be on the June warrant. There were no questions from the board or the public. The changes have been in the works for several months both at the commission and the Ordinance Review Committee.
Christopher Juntera had a site plan review for his proposed brewery and tasting room at 568 Bath Road. The board said several items were still required for the application to be complete. One item was a requirement that a box use be included on the site plan that states the site is for a single use; that is, no one can live in the second building. Currently, the contractor doing the work on the proposed brewery and tasting room is staying in the other building, Juntera said.
A second issue involves whether or not a waiver for erosion control is needed. Juntera said, and Chair Karl Olson agreed, if there is no plan to break ground and do any additional building, the waiver may not be necessary.
An argument arose when the board requested the number of seats available in the tasting room. Juntera said there is nothing in the site plan rules that requires he provide the information. Olson said, to determine whether or not there is adequate parking, some prediction of average number of seats is required.
The board also required letters from the sewer department and water district.
Juntera said 90 percent of all waste products generated by the small brewery, which he referred to as a nanobrewery, would be recycled. He is making plans to give spent grain to local farmers.
Board member Deb Pooler said the problem with the Juntera application stems from the lack of a planner. “When we had a planner, this kind of application had all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed before it came to us,” she said. “This is why we need a town planner, and I’m sorry that selectmen have not yet heard that message.”