Falmouth restaurant plan shrinks, but opposition doesn't

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FALMOUTH — The proposal for a sports bar and restaurant near Tidewater Village just got a little smaller.

But opponents of the plan for Rivalries at Farm Gate Road and Clearwater Drive aren’t ready to jump on board, even though the restaurant as now proposed doesn’t include a second story.

The proposal first appeared in December and almost immediately attracted opposition from residents in the Tidewater Farm housing development.

Ethan Croce, the town’s senior planner, said the new plan is smaller than the one that appeared before the Planning Board in April, although the building footprint has increased from 4,000 square feet to 4,600 square feet. The two-story proposal would have had a total of 7,300 square feet under roof.

“Seating also declined with the change,” Croce said. He said the two-story proposal called for more than 200 seats, while the latest version calls for just just over 160, including seasonal patio dining.

Croce said going to a single story is the only big change in the proposal, which now includes a more formal site plan, plus details about grading, landscaping and lighting.

Lance Meader, who owns Portland-based Rivalries, said the one-story design will reduce the demand for parking and the “shear volume and size of the project.”

“We definitely took in the concerns of the neighborhood, their concerns about parking and volume of people in area,” Meader said. “But also it’s the same exact size of what we have here in Portland, too. It’s a building we can more relate to.”

The original proposal would have had function space available on the second floor. Meader said the one-story design will have dividable function space on the first floor.

“That way we will be able to divide some sections and do semi-private parties, much like we do here in Portland,” Meader said. “It just won’t have the massive ability to do parties we were going to have, but puts us into similar situations we have now.”

This is not the first time the Rivalries proposal has been scaled back. When it first appeared before the Town Council, the proposal called for an 11,400-square-foot restaurant. That was later reduced to less than 8,000 square feet.

Tidewater Village residents, meanwhile, still have concerns.

“I think it was encouraging they shrunk the size, but we still have a lot of concerns about the proposal,” said Tom Mendhunk, a member of the Tidwater Farm Homeowners Association, particularly about parking, noise, buffering and traffic. 

He said the association has agreed to meet with the property owners to discuss their continuing issues.

Croce said the proposal will come before the Planning Board for a sketch plan discussion on June 2. Planning Board approval will not happen at that meeting, but the applicants will receive feedback.

He added the proposal will likely have to appear before the Town Council again because of its request to have site access to Hat Trick Drive, which is owned by the town. 

But the revised zoning has already been approved, so they don’t need to go back to the Town Council for additional zoning relief,” Croce said.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.