Rene Bernier, who has managed the Cockpit Cafe at the Sanford airport for three decades, said the city now wants her to make changes. Credit: CBS 13

SANFORD, Maine — Controversy surrounds the fate of a popular breakfast and lunch spot.

The Cockpit Café at the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport is on city property.

Owner Rene Bernier says the restaurant has been there for 30 years and she hasn’t changed a thing.

“I have been here for all of these years. It’s my heart and soul here,” Bernier said.

The walls are covered in war memorabilia.

“People love the history of this restaurant,” said Bernier.

However, the city has other plans for the space.

“We were looking for additional services like taking credit cards for example, adult beverages, extended weekend hours in the summer and outdoor seating,” Mayor Tom Cote told CBS 13. “There’s no one that’s interested in shutting down an existing business. Part of the challenge here, honestly, has been a willingness to negotiate.”

Bernier says she has no problem allowing credit cards, but the other demands go too far.

“I’m being told how to run my business. I have to abide by all of these rules, and if I abide by whatever I’m being told, I’ll be out of business in a month,” Bernier said.

She added that in addition to paying rent for the kitchen and dining room, the city wants her to pay rent for storage space, bathrooms, dumpster areas and the patio.

The Sanford City Council will vote on the lease renewal on Tuesday.

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