PORTLAND, Maine — While moving ahead on a reggae festival and a study to convert State and High streets to two-way traffic, City Councilors on Monday also delayed final action on the denial of a liquor license for Sangillo’s Tavern.
Councilors in a 5-4 vote on April 7 denied the license renewal for the bar at 18 Hampshire St., where a late January shooting left a man paralyzed. The council was prepared Monday to formally forward the notice of their decision to owner Dana Sangillo and manager Kathleen Sangillo.
But attorney Tim Bryant, who attended Monday’s meeting with Kathleen Sangillo, asked for and got a postponement on the vote because of a misunderstanding about public comment on the matter.
Bryant told councilors he had been informed by city Corporation Counsel Danielle West-Chuhta that no public comment would be allowed, while West-Chuhta said she meant there would not be a new public hearing on the bar license.
“I would appreciate being given the opportunity to prepare,” Bryant said, adding there were still plenty of supporters who would like to speak.
Councilors unanimously approved the postponement to Monday, May 5, but cautioned Bryant and Sangillo that public comments will be limited to the record of the council action.
“This is not a do-over,” warned Councilor Ed Suslovic, one of the strongest opponents of the liquor license renewal because of incidents city police linked to the bar or its patrons.
Attorney Harry Center, who represented Sangillo’s through the council hearing, promised April 7 the family would appeal the decision to the state Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.
The owners need the official city decision before filing the appeal, and West-Chuhta has said the appeal might not be heard for months because of a backlog at the state level.
Sangillo’s will remain open at least until the state decides on the appeal, but the owners can also appeal that decision to Cumberland County Superior Court.
Before finalizing its action to shut down Sangillo’s, councilors approved permits for an Aug. 10 music festival on the Maine State Pier.
The Portland Reggae Fest will be organized by Old Town-based Waterfront Concerts, which also organizes and promotes indoor and waterfront shows in Bangor. The permits include a license to serve beer in a restricted area during the event, which is expected to run from 12:30-9 p.m.
Councilors also decided that continued study of converting High and State streets to two-way traffic will include a project advisory committee of councilors, local agencies, neighborhood associations, businesses and churches.
The list of 22 possible members includes Councilors Kevin Donoghue and David Marshall as well as representatives from the Greater Portland Council of Governments, Portland Museum of Art, State Theater, Metro bus service, and the Parkside, Bayside and West End neighborhood associations.
Councilor Ed Suslovic suggested adding representatives from the YMCA on High Street, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke on State Street, and the Williston Immanuel UCC on High Street.
Those invited to the advisory committee will be allowed to name designees to act in their interests, but must identify them in writing for city staff. Global consultant TY Lin Associates is serving as project manager and designer.