NORWAY — With his 50-seat restaurant limited to 12 seats due to state guidelines mandating social distancing for the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott Berk, owner of Café Nomad, approached the Select Board on Thursday night with a proposal to help his business during this challenging time.

The board agreed to allow Café Nomad to use the Pikes Hill sidewalk through Nov. 15.

Berk said most of the other eating establishments in town had a parking lot or an alley to add outside dining. With room for only a couple of tables on Main Street in front of his business, Berk’s only recourse was Pikes Hill on the other side of his cafe.

The breakfast and lunch café will set up two-person tables each day beginning near Main Street and advancing along Pikes Hill across the bridge over Little Pennesseewassee Stream. The tables would be removed each night after closing.

Berk also received permission to use the one parking space on Pikes Hill, where he hopes to build a platform over the space.

The Maine Department of Transportation had worked with Berk to come up with a plan for pedestrians, who could use the sidewalk on the other side of the road and then cross back over after the bridge. Berk said he would work with the town to develop proper signs.


In other business, the board gave permission to Town Manager Dennis Lajoie to apply for a $25,000 grant to develop the Cottage Street Ice Rink. Along with a matching $25,000 set aside by the town, the money would be pay for a base for the rink.

The board postponed action on a proposal for an auto recycler license for N&M Auto Sales at 24 Main St. Business owner Sameer Alnajaf requested the license to recycle vehicles. He said he would not have more than three cars on the lot and none would be damaged.

“This is for recycling, not for a graveyard,” Code Enforcement Officer Scott Tabb said.

Selectmen were concerned about having such a business on Main Street and near an aquifer. They voted to postpone a decision until the next meeting in two weeks.

Selectman Ryan Lorrain expressed his frustration with his fiancee receiving an absentee ballot for the wrong political party and wondered how often that has happened. He thought the town office needed some controls in place to prevent that from happening.

Lajoie defended his staff, saying it was likely a rare occurrence.

Lorrain said from what he determined, it might have happened twice with more than 500 absentee ballots already issued.

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