NORWAY — North Norway may be host to two wedding venues if the Planning Board approves a plan next month to allow the conversion of an historic barn.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 in the Town Office, where they are expected to take up a proposal again to operate a wedding barn at 107 Morse Road.

Members agreed recently that not all abutters were properly notified of the Dec. 10 public hearing. Although dozens of residents showed up to question the petitioner Peter Ulrickson, board members said no decision could be made and the application cannot be considered complete until they were sure all abutters were notified and had the opportunity to ask questions.

The business will be called Whitmarsh, and events will be scheduled from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a limit of 125 guests.

The house on the 20-acre property was built in 1820 and is known as The Old Whitmarsh Place.

“We accepted it as a completed application,” Planning Board Chairman Dennis Gray said at the Dec. 10 hearing, thinking all abutters had been notified. “It was not the case.”


The mistake was on the part of the Planning Board, he said.

Residents at the hearing expressed concern about increased traffic, noise and other impacts to the area known historically as Swift’s Corner.

In July 2014, the board voted 4-1 to approve a plan by Granite Ridge Estate to use a rural lodge and a new luxury barn at 65 Delano Drive for wedding parties and other events. The Delano Drive wedding barn is near the intersection of Morse Road and about two miles southeast of the proposed wedding barn.

The 2014 vote allowed Portland-based business owner Anthony Fratianne to host up to 200 people in a new 3,500-square-foot barn and timber-framed lodge which overlook the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The barn is accessed by Nancy Ann Drive, a narrow, private dirt road off Norway Center Road.

A large number of residents turned out in 2014 to oppose that venture based on many of the same concerns as the Morse Road proposal, but Planning Board members say they have not heard of any problems since the business started operating.

Norway has no zoning laws, and there are no guidelines on commercial business development in residential areas. The applicant has to meet certain conditions for the change-of-use request to be approved by the Planning Board.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: