HALLOWELL — The Planning Board voted Wednesday night to approve expansion plans for a Water Street restaurant and bar.

The Quarry Tap Room’s co-owners — Steve Lachance, Chris Vallee and Larry Hunter — presented detailed design plans including drainage and elevation at the request of the Planning Board, who thought the trio’s presentation during its March meeting was lacking in specifics.

The co-owners’ showed off plans including an addition to the existing structure that will house a new kitchen and two outdoor patios on the vacant lot next to the restaurant, which the co-owners purchased last August from developer and real estate broker Terry Berry for $155,000.

“This was all planned so that people can eat outside,” said Ben Murray, of Coffin Engineering. “We really want the addition to blend into the existing building so that it doesn’t look like an addition.”

The addition would have a pickup window, service bar and a 12-feet-by-6-feet cooler attached to the new kitchen.

Murray said there would be a full granite retaining wall, which not only would bring a structural benefit but also would include a visually appealing landscaped area. The proposal includes a new aluminum door similar to the one the restaurant has now.

At its March meeting, the board heard from several residents who expressed concern about the increased noise that having outdoor seating and music would bring. But Vallee said they were planning to have any outdoor music end by 9 p.m. A city ordinance limits noise level in the business district to 60 decibels from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., which is the sound of a normal conversation, and 50 decibels from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Board member Jane Orbeton raised the music question, but Lachance and Murray said they foresee light background music and the occasional acoustic performance.

“We aren’t looking to turn this into a waterfront pavilion like in Bangor,” Lachance said. “We’re looking at this as a place where people can come sit and dine and enjoy.”

Janet Merrill, who with her husband, John, owns 110 Water St., next door to The Quarry. Janet Merrill said she is concerned for the tenants living in her building. She said the two buildings magnify the sound. Her husband questioned whether it was fair to have tenants living so close to such a noisy atmosphere.

“It’s going to be a serious problem if there is going to be music after 9 p.m.,” John Merrill said. “Are there going to be parties outside on the patio? The louder the noise level, the louder people want to be heard.”

According to the plans, a 1,920-square-foot lower open stone patio and a 1,440-square-foot upper open paver patio would include seating for outdoor dining. There also would be a 311-square-foot covered patio on the upper level. Lachance and his partners stressed that the objective of the expansion is to provide an outdoor dining space during the spring, summer and fall.

Interim City Manager Maureen AuCoin, who is also the city’s code enforcement officer, said she doesn’t foresee any problems with flood plain compliance.

Earlier in the meeting, a representative from the Liberal Cup restaurant presented a plan to move its entrance to where the RiverBooks store used to be. According to manager Casey Hynes, the Liberal Cup would move its current door to where RiverBooks’ door is, and a 3-foot window would extend the restaurant’s facade where the entrance is now.

The Planning Board tabled the application pending the receipt of additional information from Liberal Cup officials. Hynes said he has no idea what the board wants.

The next board meeting is scheduled for May 18.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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