A week or so ago I was walking from Bradley’s Hardware to the Post Office via the back way. There was a nice new table on the new sidewalk bumpout outside Crepes Ohh La La, and I couldn’t help wonder how long that was going to last. Not very as it turns out. Seems there were a few complaints and so the Selectmen decided to make it an issue at last Wednesday’s meeting. Chairman Murray conducted a little private hearing where they had Dave Ford tell us it was public property, then the Chairman told us how she would rather see a 24/7 public bench or table and that she would prefer “wrought iron”. Dave mentioned in passing that the sidewalk belonged to the business. The Selectmen were indignant. Mr. Bowers indicated it was a clear abuse of public property and that there was no need for further discussion. Ms. Silk was concerned that the town might get sued if the umbrella were to get blown by the wind and hurt someone.
Nobody asked the people who own the business – turns out they were right there in the gallery. Someone had given them a heads up that their table was on the agenda.
At the end of the meeting, a fellow got up during public comment and identified himself as Rick Eaton, representing Crepes Ohh La La. He told the Selectmen that the sidewalk in front of the place belongs to them and that rather than put the table in the sidewalk, it seemed to be less of an obstruction on the bump-out. Nevertheless, he said, they would move it and their planters back to their property.
That’s a bike week tourist. When I told him the story, he wanted to be in the blog. The table used to be out of the way to his left before the town decided they had to move it. Some people might recall there was a smaller table against the building last year. The planters mark the edge of the business’ property.
After making his point, Mr. Eaton told the Selectmen that he felt they were being singled out for enforcement, and proceeded to present photos and documentation of various business violations in town: Bradles Hardware (all that stuff piled up to the right in the photo is on town property), Sal’s Sunoco, Bailey’s Bubble. Mr. Owen was directed to follow up on it, so we should be seeing some controversy in the coming months similar to the sign ordinance debacle a few years ago.