OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Kate’s Homemade Butter agreed Tuesday to modify operations at its business to address noise complaints from neighbors as the company tries to finish construction of a new plant in Arundel.

Under a proposed consent decree, Kate’s will reduce the size of its delivery trucks, limit the hours that work will be done outdoors, and plant trees and install other sound barriers to reduce noise. The company will provide the town’s code enforcement officer with monthly progress reports and construction updates on its 17,600-square-foot facility in Arundel.

Neighbors have complained that Kate’s, a home-based business that annually produces more than a million pounds of butter, as well as buttermilk, should not be operating in a residential neighborhood.

Kate’s, which started in 1981, had planned to move earlier to the larger Arundel facility but construction problems and a stop-work order caused delays. The company could not estimate when it would be able to move.

Tuesday’s was the second meeting convened by the town’s administrative review board to hammer out an agreement between Kate’s and its neighbors. The board will meet with Kate’s on Jan. 8 to hear updates and allow neighbors to explain any concerns. If Kate’s fails to live up to the proposed consent decree, the review board will meet sooner to decide whether to forward the issue to the Town Council, which could revoke the company’s license to operate in the house.

Since the last meeting with the review board on Sept. 4, Kate’s has planted a row of trees to dampen noise and reduced the size of the delivery truck. It also agreed to limit outdoor work hours and erect a visual and noise barrier.

“I have noticed a big difference. I am pleased,” said Sue Jordan, a neighbor of Kate’s.

“Kate’s Butter has come a long way in two meetings to address concerns,” said Mark Pearson, town manager and chairman of the review board.

The modifications were proposed by Kate’s and presented by its attorney, Timothy Bryant of Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios. Neighbors and review board members asked for additional changes, such as another meeting on Jan. 8 and imposing a 6 p.m. deadline on work done outdoors.

“I’m happy we nailed down a resolution. We had no problem addressing the concerns,” Lucas Patry, son of Kate’s owners Dan and Karen Patry, said after the 75-minute meeting. About a dozen neighbors attended.

Lucas Patry said he did not know what the modifications would cost.

Although Pearson commended Kate’s for proposing changes, he said he is concerned that no one lives in the house that holds the business.

“From my opinion, the Patry’s are in material breach of the in-home business ordinance,” he said.

Fighting over that issue, however, would be complicated because a ruling could be appealed and the family could quickly move someone into the house to fix the violation, Pearson said.

Lucas Patry said he had lived in the house until renovations began recently to prepare the house for sale.

“Hopefully, we’ll be out of there before we’re done renovating it. That’s the plan,” Lucas Patry said after the meeting.

 

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

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