CAMDEN, Maine — A taco stand and a ski and bike demo business were granted special exception licenses Wednesday to operate in the Camden Snow Bowl.
Both Cold Toes Tacos and Sidecountry Sports still need final approval from the Select Board, which meets Thursday night, before they can begin operating again at the ski facility.
The town’s appeals board unanimously approved both exceptions Wednesday night, a few weeks after the town attorney discovered that neither business had gone through the requisite zoning approval process. Both businesses were notified Jan. 6 that they would be kicked off the mountain.
Following a contentious Select Board meeting Thursday, Jan. 12, it was decided that both businesses would have to go through the normal appeals process, to the chagrin of both business owners. Sidecountry Sports, for example, has only been able to operate one day during the winter so far due to, among other contributing factors, a lack of snow.
Brian Beggarly, owner of Cold Toes Tacos, and Andrew Dailey, of Sidecountry Sports, claim they were not aware they had sidestepped any licensing or zoning requirements.
Beggarly, who is also the co-owner and chef at Boynton McKay in downtown Camden, has been selling tacos at the Snow Bowl since the summer. Dailey has been offering free ski demos, fat bike tire demonstrations and rentals in the area for the last three years.
Both business owners had worked out agreements with Landon Fake, the town’s park and recreations director, former Town Manager Patricia Finnigan, which allowed both business to operate in exchange for giving 10 percent of their profits back to the town-owned mountain.
Finnigan, before she resigned Jan. 20, told the Bangor Daily News, “It was my fault I didn’t think about the requirements.”
Beggarly and Dailey pleaded their cases to members of the board, explaining that their respective businesses enriched the popular ski area and added other options to the only handful of attractions available to patrons of the unique ski mountain.
Select Board Chairman John French, Jr. said during the public hearing portion of the board’s meeting Jan. 25 that requiring both business owners to go through the appeals process is “nothing against their business,” but “it’s town land and unfortunately they were approved in an improper way.”
Barring approval from the Select Board Thursday evening, both businesses could be up and running this weekend, in time for the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, which take place at the Snow Bowl in mid February.