Saturday, May 18, 2013
Kate's Homemade Butter has been produced in a house in Old Orchard Beach for more than 30 years and neighbors argue that it's time for the business to leave home.
A shipment of Kate’s Homemade Butter sits on pallets, waiting to be loaded onto a truck, in this view from a neighbor’s property. Some neighbors argue that Kate’s has outgrown its home-based location. The company agrees, and aims to move to a new facility in Arundel.
Courtesy photo by Bart Bailey
Kate's, which produces more than 1 million pounds of butter a year, as well as buttermilk, had been aiming to move this fall to a 17,600-square-foot facility in Arundel, but that relocation has been held up by construction problems with the roof and a stop-work order.
As Kate's tries to resolve the construction problems, it continues to churn out butter from its Old Orchard Beach home -- much to the dismay of the neighbors.
The neighbors requested an administrative review board meeting on Wednesday with the Old Orchard Beach town manager to air their complaints about Kate's, which range from tractor-trailer trucks driving through a residential neighborhood and damaging roads, to noise in the middle of the night as the butter is produced and loaded on pallets.
"It's never been about shutting down Kate's Butter. It's just that those trucks don't belong there," said Greg Kidd, who lives behind Kate's. "It's a great place for kids to grow up, but having an 18-wheeler back down the road is not the right use of the road."
Kate's got a letter on Aug. 28 to attend Wednesday's meeting, said Kate's President Dan Patry.
"The purpose of the Administrative Board meeting will be fact finding with the goal of resolving the issues raised by the complaints or disturbances," V. Louise Reid, assistant town manager, said in the letter.
Reid did not return calls Friday seeking comment.
Kate's has grown to the point that it needs two tankers of cream delivered per week, and a 48-foot truck picks up finished butter and buttermilk each day between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. It produces its current volume of dairy products in about 1,000 square feet of space.
Patry said the company is eager to move and had planned to relocate to Arundel this fall. The stop-work order, which stems from deficiencies in the building's roof, has put a halt on construction. Patry said the financing is in place to complete the building, but legal issues related to the roof still must be resolved.
Arundel officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Neighbors also argued that no one lives in the house where Kate's butter and buttermilk is produced. Patry said it is the legal address of his son, Lucas, but he's moved out temporarily as construction is done to ready the house for sale.
Under the worst-case scenario, Kate's would have to move by June 2013, when its lease on a storage space in Biddeford expires. But Kate's hopes to move well before then.
"We understand the neighbors are upset. We don't want to be there as much as they want us out," Patry said.
Patry said he plans to have noise volume tests done to see if there are any violations. The company has made some investments to minimize noise, such as buying a forklift to load pallets instead of using a noisy truck load deck.
"Whatever concerns they had in the past, we've addressed," Patry said.
Still, Patry starts work at midnight and works an 18-hour shift to complete butter production. It's partly that early-morning noise that ruffles the neighbors, as well as the stacking of pallets in the driveway before the truck arrives.
"This is a full-sized-factory worth of production -- one million pounds," said Harry Bailey, who lives across the street from Kate's. "I'm hoping he becomes a large business, but he needs to be in a commercial area."
Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at: