Residents have complained at several recent South Portland City Council meetings about parking for Fore River Brewing Co. spilling onto Huntress Avenue. Krysteana Scribner / The Forecaster

SOUTH PORTLAND — Fore River Brewing Co. says it’s doing all it can to mitigate parking issues and noise complaints after some neighbors aired concerns at City Council meetings last month. 

Planning Director Tex Haeuser said the brewery and tasting room at 45 Huntress Ave. is meeting the city’s off-street parking requirements, despite concerns that parking on Huntress Avenue and Alton Street becomes overcrowded during peak Friday and Saturday business hours. 

The corner Huntress Avenue and Alton Street, where South Portland residents say parking by Fore River Brewing patrons is a safety issue. Krysteana Scribner / The Forecaster

Head brewer John LeGassey on July 1 said questions about parking “started coming up a few months ago, although our business has been around since December 2015. Right around that time we also received a couple of noise complaints, but we immediately followed up with code enforcement and the Police Department. The last thing we want is to  upset our neighborhood.” 

According to police log entries dating back to 2017, there have been three calls for loud music at Fore River, the most recent on April 24. LeGassey said one noise complaint was due to a faulty alarm and one due to loud music from a nearby garage. The third incident was unfounded. 

Neighborhood resident Rita Shera on June 26 said she has “accepted I had commercial businesses in my area, but now I have noise. My Friday and Saturday nights, I have to listen to music thumping, live music on days I have to wake up early.

“It’s very upsetting to me,” Shera said. “I’m not comfortable having my girls camp in my backyard because I have drunk people on the street late at night.” 

No formal complaints, however, have been filed with the Police Department about the parking situation or public intoxication in the neighborhood. 

Last fall, police volunteer David Twombly conducted a citywide review of areas designated as no parking and documented areas where signs prohibiting it were in place. Twombly also found several city streets with signs apparently placed by residents, including the corner of Alton Street and Huntress Avenue, near the brewery. 

Councilors on June 18 approved revised parking rules by a vote of 5-2 on June 18, including a prohibition on parking near the corner of Alton and Huntress.

“When the parking question did come up, I didn’t object to having signs go in and having the ordinance go into effect for parking,” LeGassey said. “They are narrow streets, so in addition to changes in parking that were implemented, we have done everything we possibly can to help alleviate concerns. We’ve been communicating with officials.” 

LeGassey said he’s discouraged that people complaining at City Council meetings never approached him with their concerns. He said it should be easy to resolve issues in a responsible and respectful manner, and he thinks too many people are venting without first talking with the appropriate officials.

“We’re open to suggestions and ideas,” he said. “The first communication on this should have been addressing us, the Police Department, or having a hearing in front of the City Council, not a newspaper.” 

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