The Bourne Board of Health has cleared several new businesses to open in Buzzards Bay, contingent on each passing final inspections by town regulatory departments.
The board’s approvals came during its meeting last Wednesday, July 14. The three businesses cleared to open include a new TJ’s Bar and Grille on Bourne Bridge Approach, the Rod & Rail, and Bourne Nutrition, both located on Main Street.
TJ’s Bar and Grille is set to open under new owner Chad Smith at 4 Bourne Bridge Approach. Mr. Smith appeared before the board of health Wednesday night and said that his intention is to “mirror the business that was previously there.”
Health inspector Stephanie Fitch said she did an inspection on June 28 and identified a few items that needed correction. Ms. Fitch also noted that Mr. Smith’s occupancy and food permits have been issued.
The Bourne Fire Department was scheduled to do its inspection last Friday, July 16, and a plumbing inspection also needs to be scheduled, Ms. Fitch said. She added that she would also be conducting a final walk-through of the new business on Friday.
“I’m very excited to see what it will be like,” she said.
Board chairman Stanley D. Andrews said he saw no reason to deny Mr. Smith his license to operate. The board concurred and unanimously approved the license contingent on final inspections being passed.
“I’m very happy to see another establishment open up in the Buzzards Bay district,” he said.
The Rod & Rail is slated to open in the former Buzzards Bay Tavern at 149 Main Street in Buzzards Bay. Owner Jennifer Reid and general manager Matthew Hennessey went before the board of health and said the new establishment will specialize in creative comfort food.
“Really excited to get into the community,” Mr. Hennessey said, “and help bring some more business to the downtown area.”
Ms. Fitch said there were questions as to whether the number of toilets in the building complied with current regulations. It was noted that there are two in the women’s restroom and a toilet and urinal in the men’s room. Ms. Fitch said
The owner of the building, Peter J. Luciani Jr., said the number of seats in Rod & Rail will be less than were in Buzzards Bay Tavern. He questioned why the toilet number was okay for the previous business and not for the new business.
Mr. Andrews explained that because the Buzzards Bay Tavern had been closed for more than year, the Rod & Rail was being treated as a new restaurant, not one transitioning from one type of restaurant to another.
“We have regulations that we have to follow,” Mr. Andrews said.
Mr. Hennessey said the plumbing inspector had already told him the bathroom situation at the building was okay. Mr. Andrews said that determination was made prior to the plumbing inspector knowing the business’s seat count.
Mr. Luciani took exception to the new business owners possibly being forced to spend money on new toilet installations when there had been no problem with the building’s restrooms for decades.
Mr. Luciani also argued that the board should take into consideration that the tavern had been shut down for more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that, if the Rod & Rail owners were unable to pay for additional plumbing, Buzzards Bay will lose a potential business.
Mr. Andrews countered that the board of health cannot take into consideration an applicant’s financial picture. What an applicant can or cannot afford to do is outside the board’s purview, he said.
“Public health and safety and environment. That’s all we’re allowed to look at,” he said.
Mr. Andrews added that, if the plumbing inspector was willing to sign off on the status of the restrooms, at least the board of health had followed its responsibility.
A motion was made to approve the Rod & Rail’s permit, contingent on passing an inspection by the Bourne Fire Department, as well as approval on the toilet count and the business’s grease trap by the plumbing inspector.
Also approved to open was Bourne Nutrition at 160 MacArthur Boulevard. Owner Kristina Nelson said the new business will serve nutrition shakes and various teas. Ms. Nelson acknowledged that the downtown business district already has a similar business with Vela Juice Bar on Main Street.
“We pretty much operate the same,” she said, “but our menus are different.”
Mr. Andrews said that because Bourne Nutrition will not offer seating and there is no processing of food taking place, the current septic system is adequate for the business. Any change to the business’s operation, he said, could mean coming back before the board.
“If you decide to start making sandwiches and stuff like that, if business changes, you will be back in front of the board because there will have to be upgrades to the septic system,” he said.
A motion was made and unanimously approved to grant Ms. Nelson a permit to operate.