Select Board discusses alcohol service at Snow Bowl

By Susan Mustapich | Nov 27, 2017

CAMDEN — The Select Board agreed to entertain a proposal to allow limited alcohol service at the Camden Snow Bowl after listening to a pitch on the topic Nov. 21.

The idea of serving wine and beer during certain hours at the Snow Bowl was presented by Mark Senders, owner of the Camden Bagel Cafe, and the new food service concessionaire for the town-owned ski area. Senders described the service as a limited selection of beer and wine, sold during limited hours, and said he believes a well thought-out and responsible plan could work.

Senders suggested beer and wine could be sold from behind the counter, or in a roped-off area. He envisions serving meals along with alcohol, possibly one evening a week, on weekends beginning in the late afternoon and at special events.

Snow Bowl Manager Beth Ward said, "I think it's doable. We need to say where and when." Ward mentioned one night a week, starting an hour before the ski lifts close, and then for an hour or two afterward.

John French, chairman of the Select Board, said no alcohol should be served during school-sponsored events, and said the town could take any license granted away if there were complaints. "All we need is three complaints from the Police Department, and you're done," he said. He referred to how the town has allowed a beer tent at the Toboggan Championships. "We fought long and hard about that," he said.

Board member Jenna Looker asked Senders about revenue-sharing. Senders said he had to look at the costs, including the $1,000 liquor license, and training employees, before coming up with a number.

Board member Alison McKellar said she heard about the idea of serving alcohol, and posted a question on her Facebook page asking what others thought. She read her post, which indicated that she "has serious reservations" about the idea, but could see an after-ski dinner with beer and wine as a first step.

Board member Mark Ratner remarked that he looked at the posts on McKellar's Facebook page, and there were 76 comments at that time, mostly in favor.

Ratner commented that the Snow Bowl concession is a new enterprise for Senders, and a fresh start for the ski area. "I'd like to see you get started with your food service first, before you add alcohol in," he said.

French wrapped up the short discussion by telling Senders to "put together a proposal."

Other businesses

The Camden Snow Bowl's license agreement with Sidecountry Sports to to operate a bicycle, ski and snowboard demonstration operation at the Camden Snow Bowl and a retail operation to rent and sell mountain bike equipment was approved.

Dennis McGuirk objected to the location of Sidecountry's tent, when it was moved near the front of Ragged Mountain Sports, which operates the ski rental and retail ski shop concession at the Snow Bowl. He said that Ragged Mountain Sports has been loyal to the Snow Bowl over the decades and deserves better than to have Sidecountry Sports set up so close that the new business is "in their face."

The Select Board approved a restaurant and liquor license for Camden Island, a new American-style Chinese restaurant to open at 87 Elm St., the former home of Harbor Audio Video. The restaurant plans to open in winter 2018.

A victualer's license was also approved for 16 Bay View St.

A seasonal gangway and float on the Sherman's Point property of Robert Stockman was approved by the Select Board following a public hearing. There were no comments at the public hearing from members of the public.

The Select Board approved a joint agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation for the construction of a sidewalk along Washington Street (Route 105) to Shirttail Point.

This project has been in the works for a long time, about 20 years, according to French. The town of Camden and MDOT signed an agreement in 2011, which was modified in 2013, and now has to be modified again to add $35,000 to the cost. The total cost of the sidewalk will be $382,500, of which the town of Camden's share is 20 percent, or $76,500. Select board member Bob Falciani clarified that MDOT funds come from the federal government, and pass through the state agency. There is at least $35,000 in a reserve fund for this project, according to Town Manager Audra Caler-Bell. Adding the remaining $36,500 will have to go through the 2018-19 budget process and be approved by voters at town meeting in June 2018. Caler-Bell believes that, given the amount of time the town and MDOT have spent on the project, it would be a waste of time and resources for Camden to say it is not interested in the project.

The board authorized Caler-Bell to prepare an application for up to $13 million in financing for the upgrade to the Camden Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Karen A Grove | Nov 28, 2017 10:08

Drinking and driving those tiny back roads from the Snow Bowl to town, or anywhere else, is not only an accident waiting to happen but a potential law suit.  Please don't approve this.  It's not a necessary addition to attract new patrons to ski at the Snow Bowl.



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Nov 28, 2017 08:45

Think drinking and driving is dangerous?  How about drinking and skiing? Asking for trouble. FORGET IT!



Posted by: Dale E. Landrith Sr. | Nov 28, 2017 07:50

Alcohol and cold do not mix.  Read up on it.  One night a week is a foot in the door and all should realize it.  There is no need for alcohol in outdoor sports in the winter.



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