Inn on Shipyard Park questioned again by neighbors

May 19, 2016

In recent months, George and Maureen Butler have brought a number of complaints to the town concerning the operations at the Inn on Shipyard Park, which neighbors their property.

A letter from the couple's attorney, dated May 5 and addressed to Building Inspector Andy Bobola, stated that the establishment is operating as a nightclub, which would violate the town's zoning ordinances. The couple state that the use of the property has shifted "dramatically" toward the entertainment aspects of the business.

The Inn does hold an entertainment license and has restaurant and bar areas with lodging upstairs.

According to the letter, "The interior of the facility has been changed, dramatically increasing the capacity of the bar area from 26 people to more than triple that number, at 80 people."

The result, according to the letter, is more amplified music until closing "most nights of the week" and increased noise from customers leaving later and sometimes lingering in the area.

The letter also asserts that the business "seldom" has lodgers.

Since a nightclub or entertainment venue is not allowed under the town's zoning bylaws in the Village, attorney Thomas Crotty asserts that the Inn's operations are prohibited.

The letter requested that the town do three things: stop the owners from using the property as a nightclub or entertainment venue, reduce the capacity of the bar to the capacity it was in 1967 (26 seats), and eliminate noise audible to the Butlers.

While the town does restrict nightclubs to the limited industrial district near the highway, but the building inspector said the Inn's operations do not qualify for this designation.

The Inn does have an entertainment license that permits amplified music, television and dancing until 12:45 a.m., and six performers at a time.

But nightclubs must have a raised stage or platform, which the Inn does not, said Bobola.

"In my opinion, you can't call it a nightclub," he said.

Bobola also said he was under the impression that the upstairs lodging was an active part of the business.

No other neighbors have filed complaints with the town regarding the Inn, but owners Nils Johnson and Andrea Perry have received complaints from the Butlers for some time.

In January the town approved the Inn's request to extend the front porch of the building. The following month the Butlers appealed the decision to the Wareham Superior Court. That case is still pending and the Inn owners are waiting to extend the porch.

As far as support goes, more than 300 people have liked and/or commented on a recent post on the Inn's Facebook page regarding the Butler's inquiry.

"We’re just trying to continue a tradition that has been in place long before us, and we hope will continue long into the future," said Johnson.