WEST PARIS — The Planning Board has approved its part of an application by West Paris General Store for an entertainment permit, which will be finalized after the state determines the septic system capacity for the site.

The venue owners want to hold acoustic music and open mic nights in the rear of their building at 1 Church St.

Much of the discussion Tuesday night focused on the store’s septic system, and its capacity to handle the needs of a requested cap of 40 guests. The occupancy number may need to be reduced to receive final approval, according to Code Enforcement Officer Shane Poland.

The meeting started with remarks by West Paris resident Shellie Leger, a musician and friend of store owners Jack and Lisa Floster. Leger asked the Planning Board to approve the change-of-use request.

“From where I sit, there’s no downside to bringing our townspeople together, and maybe bringing in some people from other towns who are excited by this idea that there’s a venue to listen to music, have a beer, to play the jukebox, to play some pool and foosball,” Leger said.

The Planning Board determined letters of intent do not need to be distributed to abutting property owners because there will be no subdivision of property. The Flosters will return to the Board of Selectmen, which at this point, may grant final approval if there are no complications. There have been two public hearings regarding the store’s plan, according to Lisa Floster.

Because of existing permitted occupancy numbers, Poland was doubtful the store’s existing septic system would be approved for the requested 40-guest capacity, but the permit might be approved for a smaller number.

The Flosters had also asked whether the placement of a portable toilet would influence the state to approve a larger occupancy number.

“I’m going to find out, in the state’s eyes, how many you can have in the building for occupancy, according to your septic system,” Poland said. “And the other question is, whether or not they will accept a port-a-potty. I don’t believe you can put it there for a permanent solution.

“I just wanted to be sure if you actually had 40 people show up three nights a week, that you aren’t going to overburden the system and it’s going to fail.”

The four out of five Planning Board members present voted unanimously to approve the request, dependent on the state’s determination of the number of guests the existing septic system can support.

The permit approval decision now goes back to selectmen. Their next meeting is at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at the Town Office.


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