The Waldoboro Planning Board approved an application to open The Coffee Can, a drive-thru coffee shop on Route 1, Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Don and Liza Conry, along with business partner David Light, presented their plans to open the business at 1350 Atlantic Highway, in a vacant lot between Tucker Chevrolet and Dunkin’ Donuts.
The Coffee Can will serve coffee from Rock City Coffee Roasters, of Rockland, as well as an array of goods from local bakeries. The menu will feature lattes and cappuccinos as well as drip coffee.
Flavor add-ins and nondairy options, as well as kid-friendly and health-conscious products, are being considered. Hours are tentatively 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., but may change with the day of the week and the season.
The shop would be in a brand-new shipping container, 8 feet by 20 feet, customized for the purpose. The choice of a shipping container is “more about a look and feel — part of the concept,” Light said.
Planning board member Sara Hotchkiss expressed concern about the use of a shipping container as the structure. Hotchkiss said that she likes the idea for the shop and the concept behind the shipping container.
But, referring to limits on the use of shipping containers in the town’s land use ordinance, she said she is not sure it is within the board’s purview to “stretch the definition of a shipping container” to include its use to house a coffee shop.
Other planning board members disagreed, including Chair Scott Simpson, who said he considered the structure “more of a prefab modular building as opposed to a shipping container.”
Waldoboro Code Enforcement Officer Stan Waltz said he did not see a problem.
Max Johnstone, a planning consultant to the town, reviewed the definition of a shipping container in the town’s land use ordinance.
The ordinance limits the use of a shipping container “to the temporary storage of goods, products, or materials that are manufactured or assembled on the site or used in manufacturing or assembly on the site” and refers to a shipping container as “a roofed or unroofed container placed outdoors and used for the storage of goods, materials, or merchandise, which are utilized in connection with a lawful principal or accessory use of the lot.”
Johnstone, in a phone interview Monday, Jan. 25, said the structure would be modified in a way that it would no longer meet the definition of a shipping container.
The planning board questioned the owners about impacts on Route 1 traffic.
“We’d love to think we’d have so many cars that traffic would be a problem,” Light said. “But there’s a lot of space. The beauty of the lot is that it has a very deep horseshoe, so we can push traffic into the depths of the lot. I think we’ll have a better opportunity to avoid the road than Dunkin’.”
The owners said curb cuts are already in place, so the plan will not require any changes to the roadway. The Maine Department of Transportation needs to approve signage, but the owners have been in contact with the DOT.
The planning board approved the application by a vote of 4-0-1, with Hotchkiss abstaining, pending the receipt of documentation that all DOT requirements to address signage and access from Route 1 have been met.
Light, in a phone interview Tuesday, Jan. 26, said the owners are moving forward with plans to open The Coffee Can in April.