To the editor,Soon the modified permit sought by Cape Ann Brewery for an outdoor bar and awning will return to City Council.
The key issues are simple:
Before any new use or structure is approved, will the brewery be required to demonstrate compliance with the agreed to, original City Council and state Department of Environmental Protection requirements? This is an important issue for City Council, businesses on the waterfront, and residents of the city. In the Designated Port Area, in which it is located, allowable commercial uses, other than marine industrial, may comprise 50 percent of the site, expanded from the prior 25 percent. To insist that 50 percent water-dependent use actually be 50 percent is not to oppose the business.It is simply to require that the balance be maintained between other commercial uses and the required water-dependent uses.
The brewery needs to demonstrate that the required approximately 5,000 square feet for marine industrial use and the 30 percent for parking for water-dependent use are maintained. Putting the confirmed measurements on the table could clarify these concerns. Demonstrating these compliances is no different than demonstrating how other requirements — i.e. that the dumpsters are screened and public access to bathrooms is posted— have been met. This latter has finally been done, albeit with a small sign that one must search for! Why did it take two to three years, and many rounds of public protest to accomplish this? Other businesses have had signage, prominently displayed and at twice the size, for years.
The modification to the permit being sought also seeks approval for an outdoor bar and an awning. Both are now in place prior to any modified permit being granted! To pretend that the bar is simply a temporary piece of furniture and not a different use from the originally permitted outdoor seating for a restaurant is to ask the city to ignore the substantial change in use.
How will City Council deal with businesses which ignore their original agreements and flagrantly violate the permitting process? One waits to see.