He-Brews Coffee House will hold a free concert Sept. 20-22 at the Oxford Fairgrounds next to Pottle Road in Oxford. More information will be available on the organization’s Facebook website at https://www.facebook.com/pages/He-Brews-Coffee-House/125595640952257.

NORWAY — A local couple is concerned that a Christian coffeehouse, set to open this fall, may be a health hazard, but organizers say the building will be clean and inviting when they open.

“If we can’t be a good neighbor, then shame on us,” Randy Olson, one of the organizers of the He-Brews Coffee House on Tannery Street, said Tuesday.

The Planning Board approved a change of use permit for the coffee house in the former Snocraft building at 10 Tannery St. on Thursday night following a site walk with abutters.

But some neighbors say what they saw was years of encroachment by pigeons.

“It was unreal. I saw a pile of pigeon feces a foot high. I had to run home and wash my hands before I went to the (Planning Board) meeting,” Carmie Rideout said. She and her husband, John, went on the walk before the board’s public hearing on the application.

Rideout, who lives on Marston Street across from the building, said she and her husband have watched pigeons nesting inside the building for years before the new tenants recently boarded up the windows. She said she has also complained in the past to the town about the problem.

Dennis Gray, chairman of the Planning Board, said he is not alarmed by the pigeon droppings he saw.

“Look at the Opera House; It’s been cleaned up,” he said of the 1894 building on Main Street. A few years ago, it was filled with mold and pigeon droppings from years of neglect.

Now, the five first-floor storefronts have been restored and, pending funding, plans are in the works to restore the other two floors, including the large theater.

Olson said he, Hope Verrill of Norway and other “Christian-minded” area residents, came up with the idea to open a coffee house about eight months ago to provide a place where people in need of assistance and others could have a free cup of coffee and conversation. Eventually, they hope to have periodic music shows and a day work site where business people can find laborers looking to work for the day.

Olson said he and other volunteers have spent hours cleaning the pigeon droppings and remnants of the former snowshoe factory from the second floor. Although the attic is filled with pigeon droppings, which will be removed, that space will not be used for the community, he said.

The second floor, with its large windows and open space, will house a coffee bar, a children’s area and a stage area. Olson said he hopes it will be inviting to the many homeless people in the area who now hang out in the park area by Cumberland Farms store on Main Street.

“We want everyone to take pride in the community. Whether they’re here or not, they’re out there,” Olson said of the homeless.

Olson said the coffeehouse hours will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Initially, there is only enough volunteer staff to open the coffee house about four hours each day.

Concerns about homeless people hanging outside the building after closing should not be a worry to neighbors, he said. In fact, he is hoping neighbors might even offer a place to a homeless person for a night.

Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman, who is also the town health officer, said Tuesday there are no health issues in the building as it stands today unoccupied.

Corey-Whitman said she will do a final inspection prior to occupancy.

“I’m all for that if it would help the community,” Rideout said. “To me, it’s like a hangout for homeless people. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have a place to go. It should be more appropriate.”

“If we can join forces, all sorts of good things can happen,” Olson said.

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