Feeding Friendzy can reopen
The Feeding Friendzy bake shop in Bryant Pond has been given the green light to reopen, thanks to a variance granted Tuesday by the Woodstock Planning Board.
The shop closed in early August when, after two and a half years of controversy, owner Wendy Bertrand was unable to fully comply with town ordinance and state Fire Marshal requirements. She made her feelings about Woodstock’s town officials known by posting several large handmade signs on the outside of her building.
But on Tuesday she returned to the Planning Board to apply for a permit and a variance that would allow her to meet the only remaining unmet state safety requirement: to build a second exit for the second-floor apartment above her shop.
Her application proposed an outside fire escape, but a variance was needed because the stairway was too close to an adjacent property, as well as to her own septic tanks.
An indoor staircase, she had said, was too expensive.
The board voted unanimously to grant the variance and to issue a permit to build the fire escape.
(The planners had previously granted her a variance for the septic tanks.)
The apartment may not be occupied until the escape is built, the planners said, but the business below may reopen.
Bertrand also has a six-month extension (granted Sept. 9) on a permit from the Fire Marshal’s office to add the fire escape.
If she wishes to cook onsite, however, her stove must have a fire suppression system.
Asked by planners when she expected to reopen, Bertrand replied, “I don’t have a date yet.”
Signs a hazard?
In a meeting that took place just before the Planning Board meeting, selectmen discussed concerns that the handmade signs on Bertrand’s building were a safety hazard. They cited two instances in which drivers were reportedly distracted by trying to read the signs and nearly caused accidents.
Ron Deegan said he had respected Bertrand’s desire to make her feelings known, but he felt the time had come for the signage to come down. Maxfield said he would look into the applicability of safety ordinances.