Smoke irritation on Bay View Landing, Snow Bowl erosion discussed

By Susan Mustapich | Jul 12, 2018
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Hoxbill restaurant on Bay View Landing received a provisional renewal of its victualer license, due to complaints about wood-smoke exhaust coming from a low metal chimney atop the restaurant.

CAMDEN — Irritating smoke emitted from the Hoxbill restaurant at Bay View Landing was the focus of a July 10 discussion on renewing the eatery's victualer's license.


The Select Board approved a conditional 60 day victualer's license renewal for Hoxbill owner Matt Haskell, after considering comments from Camden Falls Gallery owner Howard Gallagher about Hoxbill's wood-fired exhaust smoke filling the gallery at certain times of day.

Haskell and building owner Tyler Smith explained that a taller exhaust chimney has to be manufactured for the engineered system made by CaptiveAir that whisks smoke from Hoxbill's grills and releases it from a chimney. Smith hopes the add on to the smoke stack and mixing more air into the exhaust will alleviate the problem.

Haskell said he had a similar problem with one of his other restaurants in Bar Harbor and adding an extension to the chimney resolved the issue.

Gallagher said he now has to operate his gallery with the doors closed in the peak season. Camden Falls Gallery is located in a three-story building, with the ground floor level facing the Public Landing. The smoke from Hoxbill's cooking descends, rather than dispersing in the air, and "barrels up the alleyway" in front of the gallery, he said. It sometimes" willows up and over the alley to Bay View Street, and rises up along the backs of stores on Main Street. Employees at P.G. Willey further down Bay View Street can smell it, he said.

Opening the gallery doors at the ground level creates a chimney effect, Gallagher said, drawing smoke up through all three floors of the building. He said his gallery and the Cotton Garden store are most affected, and the smoke is hurting his business.

He has surveyed customers, asking them to rate the level of smoke on a scale of 1-10. He said customers have rated the smoke level inside the gallery with 7s and 8s, and commented that it is "overpowering," bothered a child's asthma, and impacted another person's allergies.

Gallagher believes part of the problem is that Hoxbill is right on Camden Harbor. He does not find smoke from Cuzzys and El Ancla to be a problem on the Public Landing. Cuzzy's is located on Bay View Street, uphill from the harbor and Bay View Landing. El Ancla is located beside the gallery on the ground level facing the Public Landing, but is also located in a three-story building, with a chimney atop the Bay View Street side of the building. Gallagher said smoke from these restaurants is released higher into the air. Another difference he sees is that the two are exhausting wood-fired ovens, while Hoxbill is exhausting wood-fired grills.

Smith and Gallagher both mentioned that there was more smoke when the fires were started up in the morning. Smith said he has not heard complaints when Cuzzy's fires up its ovens from occupants at 16 Bay View hotel, another of his properties, but acknowledged that is a time when the rooms are empty.

Board member Marc Ratner asked Haskell if there was anything else he could do to help with the smoke, considering it is the height of the tourist season. Haskell said the wood they use  is tested for moisture, and "it is really dry."  When Ratner asked if he start the fires earlier, Haskell said he would do that.

Board member Jenna Lookner noted that Haskell and Smith are responsible and taking actions to address the problem. She would would not want to see their victualer's license denied, she said.

Board member Taylor Benzie agreed that the combination of changing the exhaust chimney and granting a provisional license "should take care of it." The board voted unanimously on his motion to approve a 60-day provisional license while Hoxbill owners waited for new parts for the exhaust system, while lighting the wood fire earlier in the day.

Erosion fix

Planning Director Jeremy Martin explained that solutions are still being developed to address erosion problems affecting the Northeaster trail. He originally thought he would have a proposal for the board to vote on July 10, but he first wants the advice of a stormwater engineer from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Martin said he, DEP official Dawn Hallowell, and engineer Jeff Senders, spent three hours at the Snow Bowl reviewing a problem where a number of water bars (structures intended to prevent erosion) have failed. The failed water bars are directing water flow, which is carving a ditch along part of the Northeaster trail.

Hallowell investigated serious erosion problems in 2014 during the redevelopment of ski trails at the Snow Bowl. Martin said it is good news that she views work that now needs to be done as "maintenance."

He said Hallowell walked the Hosmer Pond area, looking into erosion control in place, and is pleased with conditions there.

Senders, who owns Senders LLC Science, Engineering and Construction, will prepare cost estimates after Martin obtains additional DEP stormwater management information.

Senders prepared a engineer's report dated July 9 for town officials, concluding that "surface water management systems on the trail of Northeaster, between towers 8 and 11 have failed." The problem was caused by an overburdening of four water bars in the area, "due to alterations to the pre-development drainageways, deforestation and increased snowmaking."  A further issue to address is "areas of exposed soils with little to no established vegetative cover." Senders calls the erosion "significant."

Photographs in Sender's report show how water flowing down the mountain damaged the four water bars, eroding soils around them and carrying off rip rap meant to hold soils in place.

He made four recommendations in his report: repair the access road under the triple chair lift prior to hauling materials up the mountain to repair the water bars; rebuild the water bars while reestablishing additional "drainage courses"  for stormwater; revegetation of stripped soils; and monitoring of erosion areas by mountain staff.

Martin expects to bring an estimate for erosion control work back to the Select Board at a future date, with work planned for completion prior to the next ski season.

Other business

The Select Board approved the purchase of a Haulmark cargo trailer to be used by the Parks Department during Windjammer Weekend as a concession booth and during the Toboggan Championships for ticket sales. The cost of the trailer, with the addition of a window and labor to install it, totals $4,500. Parks Department assistant director Holly Edwards said funds earned from Windjammer weekend would be used towards the purchase.

The board approved the purchase of a new 2018-19 compact wheel loader by Public Works. Department director Rick Seibel said the sole bid came in $6,000 over the $80,000 budget. He figured out how to lower the cost by removing the snow blower from the package. He said the department already has the snow blowers it needs. The $71,895 cost will include a five-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty, he said.

A renewal victualer license was approved for Bagel Cafe, and renewal liquor licenses approved for Hartstone Inn and The Drouthy Bear.

The board approved the appointment of Susan Todd to the Library Board of Trustees.



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