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Paugus Bay Plaza may experience a 'Boom'


November 18, 2009
A 42-seat restaurant and bar tentatively called Boomer's Place will join Paugus Bay Plaza if the proposal is approved at the next Planning Board meeting.

The proposal was tabled Monday night after Planning Board members agreed that it and the tax map would require a few specific clarifications before receiving the go-ahead. Paugus Bay Plaza is located on 131 Lake Street in Gilford.

Jon Rokeh of Rokeh Consulting spoke Monday along with applicant Peter Burr. The proposed restaurant and bar would have a particular "retro" style atmosphere to attract 35 year olds and up with nostalgic music from the 1970s and even 1950s. Rokeh explained that the 3,045-square foot commercial space he would like to utilize is already in place and would require moderate renovations.

"It is largely constructed in a way we are going to leave it. We need to do updating on the kitchen and the bar space," said Rokeh.

He added there would be full dining options and a full service bar, as well as available food delivery.

Burr also plans to have about four to six pool tables put in, a small dance floor, a juke box, a cooler, and dartboards. Because of the fire codes, they told the board they also plan to install another exit behind the building, other than the door located in the main hallway of the plaza.

Rokeh said the fire inspector has already approved the location. He said the existing restrooms would be at a reasonable and accessible distance as well and pointed to the various locations on his most recent map to show existing occupation and potential construction.

The Planning Board inquired how many parking spaces were already intact or would be needed since there would be more traffic going in and out with the new proposal.

Rokeh said most of the traffic at Paugus Bay accumulates during the day, and that his applicant's proposal would bring in more costumers at night.

"We are still waiting for parking counts. We will run from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., we don't anticipate a lot during the day when it's new. In terms of parking, there should be no problem," said Rokeh. "Ninety-percent of the issues are due to building codes and permits. Several technical items needed to be addressed and building code requirements."

Planning Board member Jerry Gagnon asked what exact parking calculations would be.

Town Planner John Ayer said that 26 parking spaces would be required. He said he went on site and that dozens of parking spaces out of the 200 or so were full. He added that the Lakeside restaurant space may also be vacated soon as well.

Board member Richard Sonia added that DPW Director Sheldon Morgan was somewhat concerned about waste containment for food and oil.

Rokeh said that there was already an oil and grease trap there, and the board recommended that he make the trap external and dispose of all kinds of waste in dumpsters outside of the building to avoid flies, cross-contamination, or other health hazards.

Board Chair Polly Sanfacon inquired how cigarette smoking would work.

Rokeh said that smoking would be held outside of the building and at a distance from the canopy area, which is located down the hall from the entrance. He said no fencing would be required for the dumpsters or the smoking zone.

Sanfacon asked for dance floor dimensions as well, but Burr explained that they may not install a dance floor in exchange for two more pool tables. Burr said he wanted to evoke a certain "flavor" to the place and a particular crowd with his décor.

Burr said he plans to hire about one waitress, one cook, and one delivery person to get the place going. Sanfacon said she was worried this wouldn't be a sufficient number of employees to take on the job, but Burr said that he would wait for his place to pick up before making unnecessary hires. He added that delivery also would not start until dinner time.

"We understand there will have to be a lot of hoops and things that will have to be done with the actual construction plans. Before we go into detail, we want to make sure we have a project to work with," said Burr, referring to obtaining a building license.

On the plus side, Rokeh said once permits and plans are in place, the construction won't be so bad since the area already possesses a prior operating kitchen. He said that many "permanent elements" have already been installed.

The board agreed that they would need to see a final revised plan before approving the proposal and tabled the matter with specific clarifications for their next hearing. The board will need to know of the exact number of seats in the restaurant and the bar, a compressor for beverages, security alarms, room dimensions, sewer/water issues, and the location of the grease trap.

The Planning Board will meet on Dec. 7 to discuss the finalized Paugus Bay Plaza proposal.

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