FALMOUTH — The owners of a proposed restaurant and sports bar finally have the green light to build near Tidewater Village behind Wal-Mart.

Rivalries, which will be built on Hat Trick Drive at the corner of Clearwater Drive and Farm Gate Road, on a parcel known as Tidewater Village Lot 4, has been the topic of near-constant debate since it first went before the public in late 2014. Neighbors in the abutting Tidewater Farm Homeowners Association voiced the loudest opposition along the way.

Residents attended most of the Town Council and Planning Board meetings where Rivalries was discussed. They submitted a 12-page document opposing the project in January 2015, criticizing the zoning requests made to allow a restaurant on the lot. They spoke out against parking and traffic, lighting and buffering, the potential noise and odors.

But the opposition came up short, the applicant met all conditions, and the only thing left to do is actually build the restaurant.

Code Enforcement Officer Justin Brown said he received an application for the building permit May 5, and issued the permit May 12. The permit was picked up Monday, May 16, and by Tuesday equipment was being assembled on the lot where the restaurant will be built, not far from U.S. Route 1.

Rivalries owner Lance Meader of Falmouth said his hope is to break ground within a week. But that depends on when the excavating crew is ready to go. He said he hopes to have the business open by September or October.

“It’s been a long run,” Meader said Tuesday. “It feels good to finally get to this point.”

Rivalries went through several Town Council and Planning Board meetings and had to scale back from original plans to build a two-story eatery. 

The single-story restaurant will be about 4,600 square feet. There will be 125 seats inside, and an additional 32 seasonal outdoor seats. The restaurant will have 25 on-site parking spots and 20 leased spots in Tidewater Village Lot 3. A parking study commissioned by the applicants recommended using up to 35 public parking spots on the north side of Clearwater Drive, with 25 parallel spots on the south side, and seven spaces on Hat Trick Drive. The proposal also includes nine parking spots on Farm Gate Road, which neighbors opposed.

Fifty-three parking spaces are required by the town, based on the number of seats. The Planning Board agreed to remove a requirement for 20 shared parking spots last month.

The Town Council granted the project access to Hat Trick Drive, a town-owned road that runs behind Wal-Mart, last December.

Work has also begun on a movie theater next door to Wal-Mart.

Flagship Cinemas announced in early April that it would be returning to the cinema’s original home, the theater space left vacant for several years after Regal Cinemas moved out.

The theater, which will be the company’s 15th, will be a premium cinema, with “plush, power-reclining chairs with ottomans and the latest in digital sound and projection,” as well as reserved seating, self-service soda stations and specialty programming, according to a company press release.

Theo Holtwijk, the town’s director of long range planning and economic development, said Flagship is tearing out the old seats, making renovations, and plans to open this summer, although a date has not been set.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Work begins Tuesday, May 17, on the Rivalries restaurant and sports bar near Tidewater Village in Falmouth.

Construction material for Rivalries in Falmouth. Business owner Lance Meader says he hopes to break ground within a week and open this fall.

A new Flagship Cinemas takes shape on Route 1 in Falmouth, next to Wal-Mart.

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