READFIELD — “I am still here and I will not vacate.”

Bob Bittar, the owner of a proposed concert barn at 26 Millstream Road, said Friday night he will not leave after the town revoked the barn’s single-family occupancy permit Thursday.

Bittar provided the Kennebec Journal with a scan of the notice on Friday night.

“I stand here to defend the rights of anyone in Maine who owns his or her home,” he said in an email to the Kennebec Journal that also included Town Manager Eric Dyer as an addressee.

The notice, written by the town’s code enforcement officer, Gary Quintal, states that the occupancy permit was “issued/based on erroneous information and has been REVOKED.” It states that the building does not meet life safety codes, according to the state fire marshal’s reply to Bittar’s construction permit.

The notice cites Bittar’s “own recent admission” that the property is being used as a community center for house concerts and ordered the events to stop. Bittar said he meant the property was “the center for a community,” not a community center.


“Let’s not confuse the center for a community with a community center,” he said. “This is childish. It’s the inability to distinguish the difference in words.

“(Readfield) has no commons. There’s no place to even go to,” he added. “Readfield is a pit stop on the way to Augusta and on the way to Livermore.”

Town officials ordered a concert on Aug. 18 to be canceled, and Bittar did so. He held a show later that month, which brought no immediate response by the town.

The Sept. 20 notice said the remedy is to complete the rezoning process through the Planning Board. If he fails to comply with the order, the memo says “the Town will be required to bring Enforcement Action.” It says any town expenses to do with the enforcement actions would be paid by Bittar.

Bittar is in the process of having his property rezoned to hold regular concerts in the recently constructed barn. A three-hour public hearing on Sept. 5 saw no action taken on his proposal and is scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday.

Bittar submitted both an application to the Planning Board to have the rural residential area rezoned as rural and a petition to selectmen asking for the same change. Selectmen, in turn, referred the petition to the Planning Board for a recommendation since it is considering the application for the same thing.


Dyer told the Kennebec Journal earlier this month that the processes are merging and the Planning Board needed to offer a recommendation to the Selectboard. An opinion by the town’s attorney, Stephen Langsdorf, would come before a final Selectboard decision.

Bittar, 78, has long sought permission to offer music at the site, submitting an application to the Planning Board at one point for permission to operate a town event and community center. He later withdrew that application after some neighbors and other residents voiced opposition March 1 at a public hearing.

Bittar’s property is in the rural residential district, which “accommodates low density residential use, agriculture and forestry operations which are compatible with the preservation of Readfield’s rural character, and which are protective of sensitive natural resources and scenic/visual quality,” according to the town’s Land Use Ordinance.

Langsdorf said earlier this month, “Part of the issue here is that this zoning change (Bittar) is asking for allows heavy industrial uses, hotels, motels, bars, sludge spreading. There is a significant question as to whether it is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.”

Dyer was not available for comment at press time.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

Twitter: @SamShepME

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