Spring Park approves licenses for brewery, adds sex offender restrictions

By Lorrie Ham

The new Back Channel Brewery in Spring Park received city council approval for taproom on-sale and growler off-sale licenses at the council’s June 5 meeting. While the owners are looking to open the new business in August, the license approval is contingent upon the brewery owners meeting all requirements for their conditional use permit (CUP) and obtaining a certificate of occupancy from the city building official.

The council took action back in December 2016, which put the wheels in motion for a brewery and taproom to be located at 4787 Shoreline Drive in a stand-alone building in the Marina Shopping Center. Back Channel Brewery received a CUP for a brewery and taproom at the building, site of most recently a dental office and earlier a restaurant. Plans include the renovation of the existing building, an outdoor patio area, production brewery and taproom.

In another matter, the council adopted residency restrictions for registered sex offenders. The new regulations mean that those offenders may not live within 1,000 feet of any school, daycare center, park or playground.

The council had discussed the matter in earlier work sessions after Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok had approached the city to determine if there was interest in adopting such restrictions. While the council had originally proposed a restriction of 2,000 feet, City Attorney Nancy Jensen Beck suggested the 1,000 feet restriction.

Due to the city’s small land area, a larger distance requirement would cover the entire city and basically restrict residency in Spring Park, raising a question of constitutionality. The larger distance requirement would also create the potential for sexual predators to be concentrated in one area of the community, Beck added.

Earlier this year, the City of Orono passed a similar ordinance which restricts level 3 sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school, daycare center, park or playground.

In other business, the council approved the 2017-2018 liquor, beer, wine, cigarette and dinner dance renewal licenses for Lord Fletcher’s, Tonka Grill & BBQ, MGM Wine & Spirits, and Shoreline BP. The renewals cover the period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.