Much-debated Falmouth restaurant nears completion

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FALMOUTH — After roughly two years of meetings with the Town Council and Planning Board, backlash from neighbors, and a handful of revisions, Rivalries sports bar and restaurant is set to open next month off U.S. Route 1.

Lance Meader of Falmouth, who owns the Portland-based business, said on Monday there haven’t been any major delays recently, although on the application for a local license, a Nov. 1 opening date was indicated.

“Like building anything, it takes time, (and) sometimes it takes longer than you think,” Meader said, adding that he thought construction had gone quickly.

The restaurant is at 2 Hat Trick Drive, at the intersection of Farm Gate Road and Clearwater Drive. The building is just behind Wal-Mart and close to Family Ice Center.

Meader said kitchen equipment should be delivered this week, and workers are also finishing up the dining room. He said 32 televisions still have to be hooked up in the restaurant and the decor needs to be completed. Meader said the goal is to maintain an environment similar to the original Rivalries is at 10 Cotton St. in Portland’s Old Port.

“The outside is coming out nice, and I think people will be blown away by the inside as well,” he said.

Planning  for Rivalries’ second location began in December 2014, when a proposal went before the Town Council asking for an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow the business on Farm Gate Road in Tidewater Village. The council granted the request, but the proposal generated an immediate wave of complaints from members of the Tidewater Farm Homeowners Association. Many spoke out in public meetings against having a restaurant and bar in their neighborhood.

Shortly after the proposal first appeared, the association formally challenged it with a 12-page letter to the Town Council. Members argued the lot was only zoned for commercial use and not for a restaurant, and said they had concerns about increased traffic, noise, parking demand and a lack of buffering.

The restaurant proposal bounced between the Town Council and Planning Board, with the council ultimately approving the zoning changes in March 2015. The Planning Board approved the site plan in November 2015, and agreed in April to remove a requirement for 20 shared parking spots

Fifty-three parking spaces are required by the town, based on the number of seats in the restaurant. The restaurant will have 25 on-site parking spots.

The Planning Board also The Town Council also granted the project access to Hat Trick Drive, a town-owned road that runs behind Wal-Mart.

The original plan was a two-story, 11,400-square-foot building with an entrance on Hat Trick Drive that would have accommodated 192 patrons, with an additional 32 outdoor seasonal seats. But the project was scaled back to a single-story restaurant of 4,600 square feet, with indoor seating for 125 and seating for 32 patrons outside.

The restaurant received a building permit May 12, and obtained food service and liquor licenses for daily hours of operation from 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.

The finishing touches at Rivalries aren’t the only work going on in the neighborhood.

Construction along Clearwater Drive, which began in early September, is part of the town’s ongoing replacement of the Mill Creek pumping station.

Pete Clark, the town’s wastewater superintendent, said work on Clearwater involves replacing the existing sewer force main in the street. He said most of the work will be done in two to three weeks, but final paving won’t happen until the spring.

Clark said the project is also related to the work being done on Depot Road this week. Depot Road was closed to through traffic on Monday between Route 1 and Route 88 to allow wetlands installation of a 750-foot-long section of pipe.

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

The long-planned Rivalries restaurant on Hat Trick Drive in Falmouth isn’t ready for business yet, but is expected to open in December.

Town workers are replacing a sewer force main on Clearwater Drive in Falmouth as part of a larger project to replace the Mill Creek pump station on Route 88. Work began in September, and will likely last a few more weeks. Final paving will be done in the spring.

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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.