Brass Compass park tables approved for the yearFive-year license plan shot down
Rockland — In what has become an annual sign of spring, the City Council voted Monday night, March 10, to allow the Brass Compass Cafe to use a portion of a city park for outdoor seating in summer months.
Councilor Frank Isganitis proposed amending the agreement so the restaurant would not have to come back to the council until 2018 for approval. After some debate, this amendment was shot down by a vote of 4-1.
However, the council voted 5-0 to allow the restaurant to use a 10-foot portion of the park for a fee of $1,500 this season. The terms are the same as last year.
Brass Compass owner Lynn Archer noted she has been in business at the corner of Park and Main streets for the past 11 years. For a number of years she has been serving customers outside in the neighboring Winslow-Holbrook Memorial Park.
The park honors the memory of two men, who died in World War I: Arthur E. Winslow and Albert D. Holbrook.
Councilor Eric Hebert said the council should consider raising the fee for coming years as part of any five-year agreement. He said it was already a "sweetheart deal."
Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson suggested that the council meet at the table with the business owner before increasing fees.
Isganitis described this issue, which has been controversial in previous years, as a wound that will not heal because the council keeps opening it every year.
Hebert then proposed postponing the decision until the April 14 meeting. Dickerson said the council should not postpone the decision because summer will be here quickly, and the restaurant owner needs to be able to plan for it.
Mayor Larry Pritchett asked Archer her thoughts on a five-year license with a negotiation possibly dragging into next month, or a one-year agreement that night. Archer said she would prefer to go forward with the one-year agreement and come back in October to discuss potential changes.
Hebert withdrew the motion to postpone.
The council also discussed the possibility of the city doing work in the park. City Manager Tom Luttrell said work was unlikely this year in the park, but it was noted the city could suspend its agreement with Brass Compass to complete improvements to the park.
Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 122, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.
Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.