HALLOWELL — The Planning Board approved the site plan review for a Water Street hot spot and approved a Water Street restaurant’s proposal to relocate its entrance at a special meeting Wednesday.

The board approved The Quarry Tap Room’s expansion plans during its April meeting but needed to complete the site plan review for the approval to be official.

“We wanted to make sure everything that needed to be submitted was submitted,” said Interim City Manager and Code Enforcement Officer Maureen AuCoin. “But the information is generally the same.”

The board reviewed 30 items one by one with Quarry co-owner Steve Lachance and Ben Murray, of Coffin Engineering, before things got really interesting.

John and Janet Merrill have been the most outspoken opponents of the expansion plans. The Merrills own the building next door, 110 Water St., and are concerned about the increased noise that an outdoor seating area with some live music will bring.

Merrill was the only member of the public to speak at the meeting against the proposal. He said the whole plan fails when one examines the city’s ordinance where it defines a patio as being adjacent to a dwelling and not containing a railing.

Merrill accused the co-owners and Murray of trying to circumvent the ordinance and “slip the word ‘patio’ in there.” He noted parking ordinance issues and said “this project is the poster child for what the parking ordinance is trying to stop.”

“You have no alternative but to reject this entire proposal,” Merrill said during the public comment period. “It all starts with that little weasel word ‘patio.’ It’s totally unsupported, and there is no basis in the ordinance for approval.”

Merrill indicated that if the board went forward with the approval, he would want to appeal their decision, though it is unclear whether he has legal grounds to do so. He was also concerned about the parking strain that an increase in the size of the restaurant would bring.

“You’re damaging the whole city just for the benefit of one developer,” Merrill said after the board indicated it would move forward with the discussion. “Are you really going to ignore the ordinances?”

He also asked that the board members, if they were to approve the proposal, include provisions that prohibit music past 9 p.m. and that the restaurant not prop open its doors.

The plans call for 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 bought last August from real estate broker and developer Terry Berry for $155,000. Murray said the patio space was designed so people can eat outside.

AuCoin was unable to find a different word to describe the outdoor space other than “patio,” and the board didn’t want to get into a discussion involving dictionaries and definitions. Planning Board member Darryl Brown said that if the Merrills had this much concern about the property, he should have bought it himself.

Getting the plan to move their existing door to an adjacent space approved took longer than Liberal Cup owner Geoff Houghton would have wanted. But he is happy with the result and ready to get to work on the project.

“I don’t want to put a deadline on it, but I would hope we’d be finished by mid-June,” Houghton said. “I have to do a lot of inside work, too.”

At April’s meeting, the Liberal Cup’s manager, Casey Hynes, detailed plans to move the restaurant’s door to the former RiverBooks location adjacent to the Cup, but the Planning Board tabled the issue until Hynes could be more specific about the plan.

Owner Geoff Haughton, owner of the Liberal Cup, was unable to attend April’s meeting, but he presented a diagram of his plan, which he hoped would help the board visualize what the new entrance would look like.

“It’s only a 6-foot-wide space, so we want to widen the entryway,” Houghton said. “We all have experienced a time where we were cramped entering the restaurant.”

The board had several questions about what the new entrance would look like, including the new window that would fill in the space where the Liberal Cup’s current door is.

Houghton said he thinks the new entrance will help the flow into the restaurant. The door will be on the right, he said, because most people are right-handed and want to reach to the door with their right hand.

“Our foot traffic comes mostly from the left, so it just makes sense,” he said. “For a while, people are going to go to the old entrance, but I’ll put a sign that says keep going.”