by Joshua Maloni
A source of contention in the Village of Lewiston last year, the Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours' portable restroom trailer may return to Water Street this summer.
On Monday, WJBT President John Kinney told the Planning Board such an action wasn't his preference, but that legal actions hindering the construction of his operation's new headquarters had forced his hand.
With expansion plans on "temporary hiatus," he said, "It necessitates us doing some things for this operating season, which includes the implementation of our washroom trailer."
The Planning Board approved Kinney's request, and sent it to the Village Board for final approval. Trustees meet Monday at 6 p.m. at the Red Brick Municipal Building.
The Village Board signed off on WJBT's trailer last season despite objections from Water Street residents and Riverside Motel management. Trustees said tourists were changing clothes and urinating in public, and needed a private facility.
Kinney said he was cognizant of complaints, and has developed a more aesthetically suitable location for the 8-by-36-foot trailer, which, in 2010, was situated across the street from the motel.
"The good news is that, although we need to do that, we're not intending to put it where it was before," he said. Instead, his company will look to utilize its newest Lewiston property, the former Village Inn building across the street from WJBT's Water Street Landing entrance. The trailer would be situated in between the old restaurant and the Moose Lodge.
Kinney described the new location as "better and more benign."
He said the building, itself, would serve as a comfort station with simple amenities for WJBT's customers.
In order to situate the trailer in that spot, Kinney said a "minor" hill would be leveled and replaced with gravel. No trees would be affected, and he noted the trailer "really does not impact any views."
The Planning Board had a few concerns. Member Loretta Frankovitch said, "I'm not wild about digging out the hill there." She suggested it was a spot used by visitors to enjoy the waterfront.
Member Jamie Symmonds inquired about the view. The trailer doors will face the water.
"The image ... just the sight of that from the parking lot all day long. I don't know," she said.
Kinney said the bathroom doors obscure the inside of the trailer. Last year he described the unit as a high-end wash facility.
When asked about using the parking lot, instead of the hill, Kinney said he didn't want to take any spots away from guests.
"We don't think that's ultimately the best thing to do," he said.
The board also asked if Kinney had contacted members of The Moose Lodge. He said he hadn't, but that the two parties have a good relationship.
Trustee Vic Eydt, who is also a Moose board member, was in attendance and said he had discussed the issue with members.
"I don't think it will be a real, real big issue," he said.
Zoning Officer Bill Brodie said Kinney would have to offer a "drop-dead date" for when the trailer would exit the village. Kinney suggested Sept. 12, which is one week after Labor Day.
Kinney said the trailer rental was expensive, and "we have no intention of keeping (it) any longer than we have to."
Though WJBT received permission from the Village Board in January to proceed with permanent expansion plans, no shovels have hit the ground.
"Since we were last together, a whole lot of nothing has happened," Kinney said. That's because developer Jerome Williams filed a pair of lawsuits claiming the municipality's actions in granting the expansion were illegal and violated the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. dismissed the first motion in March. The second motion is scheduled for later this month.