NORWAY – Selectmen have delayed approval of a liquor license for a proposed downtown restaurant pending the results of a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency investigation at the owner’s home in Albany Township.

The board unanimously agreed to table the application of Elise Thurlow, 43, of 42 Lovejoy Mountain Road while it awaits a report from the state drug agency.

Thurlow considers the decision premature.

“The fact is, I’ve never had any drug charges (against me), and to my knowledge, I still don’t,” Thurlow said Sunday night. “I work hard and pay my taxes. I don’t deserve this.”

MDEA agent Tony Milligan said Friday night that a search warrant was executed at property on the Lovejoy Mountain Road in March.

His boss, MDEA Supervisor Gerry Baril, said Friday night that two pounds of processed commercial grade marijuana were confiscated at Thurlow’s residence.

As a result, “There is an investigation that will be presented to the next grand jury,” Milligan said, when it sits in June.

Thurlow’s liquor license application was tabled on the recommendation of Town Manager David Holt and police Chief Rob Federico. It is expected to be reviewed June 5.

Holt told selectmen at their Thursday meeting that a large amount of marijuana was confiscated at Thurlow’s home.

While the board said it was difficult to deny an application for any new business, they agreed that until the facts of the investigation are complete they can not act.

“I’d be very uncomfortable going against the chief with his recommendation,” agreed Selectman Bruce Cook.

Still, “We don’t want to discourage anyone,” Selectmen Chairman Russell Newcomb said, referring to new business ventures on Main Street.

Thurlow declined to comment on the investigation, but confirmed that she will continue pursuing the liquor license. Thurlow hopes to open The Brick at 237 Main St. and would be the sole owner, the board was told.

The building is owned by Trolley Enterprises and once housed The Trolley House Restaurant.

Thurlow reported on her application that she has two prior convictions: driving under the influence of alcohol in 1991, and failure to disperse in 1990.

She said she wants the liquor license to allow dinner patrons to drink wine and beer. She said the only entertainment will be a solo singer on an acoustical guitar.

The business would be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Thurlow was forced to close her previous restaurant, the Colonial Coffee Shoppe on the first floor of the Opera House on Main Street, when the roof partially collapsed last September. She operated it with Sherwood Jordan, also of Lovejoy Mountain Road in Albany Township.

Staff editor Mary Delamater and staff writer Andie Hannon contributed to this report.


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