Plan for Cape Elizabeth pizzeria shocks tenant, irks restaurant

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CAPE ELIZABETH — A plan for a new brick oven pizzeria near Kettle Cove has been approved, but not without objections from other business owners.

The Planning Board on Tuesday approved the site plan for Summer Oven, a pizza restaurant planned at 541 Ocean House Road. The proposal for the 30-seat restaurant still needs to be slightly revised before a building permit is issued.

The property, owned by Nick Tammaro, now houses his landscaping business, two greenhouses, and three retail tenants. Tammaro, along with business partners Jen Feeney and Sheldon Goldman, wants to put Summer Oven in a building leased to Sandra Jones, owner of Something’s Fishy.

Engineer Johann Buisman of Northeast Civil Solutions in Scarborough, who is working on the project, told the board that he and Tammaro want to open Summer Oven this summer.

But Jones then told the board her lease isn’t up until March 2016. Tammaro said he plans to negotiate a buyout with Jones to end her lease early.

“I’m shocked,” Jones said. “I was never told about this.”

Something’s Fishy, which also has had a Portland location for 34 years, has been in Cape Elizabeth for two years. Jones said she’s not yet sure what she plans to do about Tammaro’s plan, but knows she will be seeking help.

“I have to have a lawyer now,” she said.

During the meeting, Tammaro said he had notified Jones of the upcoming change.

“We wouldn’t be here tonight if we didn’t think we were close to a buyout,” he said.

When asked about the situation after the meeting, neither Tammaro nor Feeney would comment. They also declined to talk about the planned pizza restaurant.

Planning Board member Elaine Falendar said she thinks the lease disagreement is a private matter and not pertinent to the board’s discussion.

During the meeting, Buisman talked about the plans for the site, which include adding more parking and replacing pavement in front of the proposed Summer Oven with grass. One greenhouse will be removed, too.

“The site has a very commercial feel right now,” he said. “We are vastly improving what is there now.”

The owners also plan to put outdoor seating on the grass in front of the restaurant.

The revisions necessary before a building permit can be issued include providing a letter from the Portland Water District saying enough water is available at the site, putting a screen along the west side of a dumpster, and planting trees of adequately sized trees.

Rudy’s of the Cape, which reopened in March at 517 Ocean House Road after a lengthy process of obtaining town approvals for renovations and new construction, had a lawyer at Tuesday’s meeting to make sure Summer Oven was held to the same standards it had to meet.

Attorney Lauren Weliver of Perkins Thompson in Portland told the board she didn’t believe Tammaro’s application was ready for approval.

But the board disagreed, unanimously found the application to be complete, and approved it.

If the buyout of Something’s Fishy doesn’t happen, Summer Oven will be able to open after Jones’ lease expires, without returning to the Planning Board. The site plan approval is valid for one year from when any site alterations related to the project are started.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.