2016-03-25 / Front Page

Council takes up redo of restaurant

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — A new restaurant may be on the way in place of Joe’s Boathouse, a popular eatery at Spring Point Marina in South Portland that closed in November after 23 years in business.

Port Harbor Marine, which operates the city-owned marina, has applied to the city council to tear down the current restaurant building and replace it with a modern, window-lined structure that features double-decker dining. Although the Soucy family that owns Port Harbor Marine owns the building, a $20,000 limit on improvements they can make on the city-owned land meant the council had to give a green light before the development can move on to the city planning board.

It gave that permission Monday in a unanimous 7-0 vote.

“I’m really happy to see the old building coming down and a new one going up in its place, because the old one was tired,” said Councilor Linda Cohen.

Still, despite council enthusiasm for the project, a number of residents of the adjacent Breakwater condominiums voiced concern.

Almost all said Monday that they miss Joe’s Boarthouse and would welcome a new restaurant or even a new building in is place. However, all said they are concerned about the specific plan presented, which includes a second floor outdoor deck and bar.

“I’m very worried that the city council blessing is some form of approval that would affect the planning process,” said Jim Garland. “I’m very upset about the plans. I think there’s a very big noise problem for the people who live at Breakwater.”

“I hear what they are saying, because noise could be a problem,” Councilor Maxine Beecher said, “but the old Joe’s Boathouse had almost no insulation to prevent noise. I think this new building will be an asset, and one the neighbors will be proud of.”

But Mayor Tom Blake noted that the project will be fully vetted by the planning board, which is the proper forum for the neighbors to voice their reservations.

“This may be an opportunity for the neighbors to work with the Soucy’s as part of the planning process,” Blake said. “They have to meet the standards of anyone else in the city.”

The former Joe’s Boathouse is 3,514-square-feet and had one dining room with a small outdoor deck that held five dining tables.

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