February 28, 2020
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Orono council postpones 103 Ultra Lounge hearing

ORONO, Maine — Rob Snow will have at least two more months before he will have to answer more questions about his bar-club-restaurant.

The Town Council voted 6-1 Monday night to continue a hearing into whether it can revoke the victualer’s and special amusement permit for Snow’s establishment, 103 Ultra Lounge, which is on Park Street. Councilor Cynthia Mehnert voted against the continuance.

The council found it could not hold the hearing because Senior Fire Investigator Edward Archer of the State Fire Marshal’s Office declined to answer some questions posed by Mike Harman, the attorney for R.I. Snow Co. LLC. Snow is facing criminal charges for which he will have to appear June 11 at District Court in Bangor, and Archer said he did not want to face questioning that could prejudice the criminal case.

The charges stem from a compliance check at 103 Ultra Lounge made the evening of March 20 and early morning March 21. Other establishments also were checked, according to a report Orono Police Chief Gary Duquette submitted to the council.

In the report, Duquette said the fire marshal’s office determined that night there were 845 people in the building. Snow said his maximum occupancy is 526.

Archer said Snow is facing two charges of the life safety code for exceeding occupancy and for a blocked exit.

Most life safety code violations are considered Class E misdemeanors. If found guilty, the penalties include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 per count.

Snow also was cited by state liquor licensing and Orono police for issues including failure to offer food and allowing visibly intoxicated persons to remain on the premises.

After the council voted on the continuance, Snow said there were 513 people in 103 Ultra Lounge that night based on what he observed on his 32-camera surveillance system.

“The police are going to have to explain why their count is different from what the photographic evidence shows,” said Harman, who added that the Orono Police Department has the same surveillance videotapes.

Harman and Snow denied there was a blocked exit.

Councilors agreed about the necessity of continuance but were concerned about having to wait until after Snow makes his initial appearance in court to hold their own hearing.

“I do not want a situation where we have life safety violations,” council Chairman Geoff Gordon said.

Snow faced extra scrutiny from the council in February when the liquor license for 103 Ultra Lounge was under review. The license was granted after Snow presented a plan to mitigate overserving and other alcohol problems.

The council on Monday also voted to:

— Support changes to the Marsh Island deer reduction efforts as presented by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

— Authorize Town Manager Cathy Conlow to sign a memorandum of understanding with Deep Cove II LLC, a Portland-based group looking into redevelopment of the Webster Mill site at the intersection of North Main and Penobscot streets.

— Approve liquor and victualer’s licenses and a special amusement permit for Woodman’s Bar & Grill.

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