Plans for small boutique hotel presented to Gorham board

Although their site plan review application was not deemed complete at Thursday’s Planning Board meeting, Steve and Liz Jackson said their dream is to turn the second floor of 101B Main Street into a unique seven-bedroom boutique hotel. (EDITH TUCKER PHOTO)

GORHAM — The out-of-the-box idea that Northeast Snowmobile & ATV rentals’ owner Terry MacGillivray had unexpectedly presented to the Planning Board on Thursday, April 15, was given the green light by unanimous vote with a single abstention one week later on April 22.

The board OK'd his proposal to rent a maximum of 70 all-terrain vehicles from a 50,000-square-foot level commercial lot on North Main Street (Route 16) owned by Chip and Becky Bean of Errol.

The board did not require a site plan review since the business will operate at this site for only up to a year on rented property.

If MacGillivray’s plan to reduce the heavy use ATV use from 177 Main St. works as well as he expects and he wants to continue the arrangement, then he will come before the board for site plan review.

Currently, this site houses a 24-hour gas and diesel fuel business, plus the Eastern Depot, a popular comfort food restaurant.

For Northeast Rentals, the appeal of the Bean property is that in 2020 the state Bureau of Trails developed a large parking area on the lot’s north side so that both pickup trucks and cars hauling vans could off-load and load motorized vehicles.

The bureau also developed an access to the ATV trail system next to the black trestle, so OHRV enthusiasts no longer need to use the state-owned Route 2 parking lot.

“This seems to be a logical and reasonable solution; it gets as many ATVs as far out of downtown as possible within Gorham’s boundaries,” one board member said.

Those who don’t own their own OHRVs can instead rent one of the up-to-70 ATVs that will be parked regularly on the Bean site. While these Northeast customers are out on the trail, they can leave their own vehicles parked on a large half-paved-half-gravel area near the base of the cell-tower not far from the installed Eversource transmission towers and lines.

ATV activity will continue at the former bank building that MacGillivray owns at 177 Main St. but with the expectation that its usage will be less intense and noisy than it was last summer.

No business appears to be on the horizon on the 4.80-acre former Burger King lot that MacGillivray owns at 197 Main St. Nor has MacGillivray presented any new plans at Northeast’s snowmobile rental business at 325 Main St., near a trailhead.

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