A new restaurant inside Powder Ridge ski resort has been forced to close, even after the owner said he is following the law.
Fire at the Ridge has lost a lot of business since Friday, after it was told it couldn’t open because of the fire sprinkler system.
Improvements to Powder Ridge have been ongoing for the last three years. The restaurant’s grand opening was scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday, but two hours before, Sean Hayes was given an order, by mail, that he couldn’t open for business.
“We were planning to open at 5 p.m., we had a sold out reservation for both Friday and Saturday," Hayes said.
The restaurant was slapped with an “order of abatement” from Middlefield’s building inspector, which forced Hayes to cancel all reservations.
“It hurt a lot, it hurt our reputation going forward. We have a community that has supported us and wants their mountain back and we are trying to provide the community with their mountain and the resources and amenities that are required around it," Hayes said.
The facility needs to have a working sprinkler system, but theirs isn't working and they are waiting on a part.
They were able to modify the measures by hiring two firemen, for $50 an hour, to watch the building during business hours. That’s called a fire watch.
Local fire officials signed off on it weeks ago. Two firefighters were scheduled for Friday night.
The state’s building department told Eyewitness News that “Temporary measures have been approved to allow the facility to operate pending installation of additional equipment, which, I am told, should be accomplished shortly."
When Eyewitness News asked why the restaurant was forced to close, even though the temporary measures were in place, the department said “There may have been some miscommunication between local officials and the facility.”
Eyewitness News spoke with the first selectman on the phone, who said the fire watch was agreed upon with Powder Ridge and local fire official’s weeks ago and then the paperwork was sent to the state.
The first selectman said the confusion lies between the state’s building inspector and the state’s fire marshal.
Meanwhile, the miscommunication is costing a business owner thousands in losses.
“Instead of helping companies, right now we are seeing a structure that is allowing a company to stop dead in its tracks. If it's political, personal I don't know but at a certain point after three years, I don't care anymore, I need it solved. It's hurting the community, it's hurting my employees and the business," Hayes said.
Powder Ridge is hoping to get the restaurant open by Wednesday.
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