Owls Head drops out of food stand case

By Juliette Laaka | Jun 12, 2014
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham The food stand proposed for Ballyhac Road in Owls Head.

Owls Head — The town of Owls Head does not want to participate in further court proceedings relating to an appeal neighbors filed opposing the Planning Board's approval of a food stand on Ballyhac Road, according to a letter filed June 9 by Town Attorney William Dale.

Neighbors of a proposed food stand are seeking a judge's determination of what will happen with the property. The town is listed as a defendant, as well as Larry and Donald Keating, the men planning to open the food stand, according to a complaint filed in Knox County Superior Court.

Dale said the Keatings will cover the cost of their defense, without the town paying legal fees.

The complaint, filed by three neighbors, Myles Peter Rogers, Annie Higbee, and Reginald LeHouillier, requests the revocation of a building permit after the town's zoning board of appeals dismissed their appeal in January.

The plaintiffs claim the permits issued for the stand violate the town's zoning laws because the area is designated as a rural residential zone, according to the complaint. They fear traffic at the lunch stand will disturb the peace of the area.

The plaintiffs are also asking the judge to reinstate their right to appeal the decision to the zoning board of appeals.

The plaintiffs said the Keatings do not own the property but were issued a permit of use by the town.

The board voted against hearing the appeal because under town ordinances an appeal must be filed within 30 days after a project's approval, said Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Rod Mason in previous comments.

The Owls Head Planning Board approved permits for Beachside Grill in August 2012, to be operated as a "home occupation/home-based" business. It is located at 89 and 90 Ballyhac Road, which is the road that goes to Birch Point State Park.

Friends of Ballyhac Road, a group of 23 neighbors, wrote to the zoning board in January arguing the project should not be allowed because the business does not meet zoning criteria for a home-based business and instead is a commercial restaurant. The property is in the town's rural-residential zone, which does not allow commercial businesses or restaurants, according to the ordinance.

The plaintiffs are represented by Camden attorney Paul Gibbons.

Comments (3)
Posted by: glen r thompson | Jun 13, 2014 11:18

Been there - great food - pleasant atmosphere - nice people.  Adds to  the general feeling of the area.  Obviously time for Myles, Annie and Reginald to move on.  Bordering on harassment in my opinion.

Posted by: Nicole L Nichols | Jun 12, 2014 18:21

Thank you Nina, we appreciate the support.  We are feeling harassed by the opposed group and their lawyer.

I would like to add to this article that the permits were obtained in August 2012, they didn't file an appeal until January 2014 claiming they didn't know what was planned until Nov 2013.  That is still nearly one and one half years after the town allows to hear an appeal.  In February the town would not listen to their lawyer, stating just this to him.

I invite the Bangor Daily News, The Village Soup or any other news paper or broadcast to come talk to us.  We'd love to share with you our side, and that we have followed the ordinances set forth by the town and State. 

Anyone is welcome to come to Beach Side Grill.  We are open.  Lary and I are there everyday (weather permitting).  The road is fairly busy from the  Birch Point Beach traffic which is 1/2 mile past the food stand.

Thank you again for your support, and for the support of everyone in favor of a small business, and a native Mainer making his way and supporting his family.

Lary and I were married June 7th, we have 4 children between the 2 of us, and you will likely see and meet them at the grill.

Posted by: Nina Reed | Jun 12, 2014 11:34

good luck larry and nicky with your new business. i heard the food is great.

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