Orleans Officials Give Liam’s Restaurant a Short Reprieve Before Likely Demolition

ORLEANS –An iconic restaurant at Nauset Beach in Orleans got a temporary stay from demolition Wednesday after selectmen postponed taking any action until they received a structural report from engineers.

Liam’s was hanging off the edge of the dune that was ripped apart during the weekend nor’easter.

Acting as park commissioners, the board decided to table a demolition vote until Monday at 5 p.m.

Liam’s, and before that Philbrick’s, has been a summer tradition at Nauset Beach for decades.

But as the storm chewed away 40 feet of dune and waves lapped onto the building, the eastern side of the building was left exposed to the ocean.

Since then, hundreds of people have flocked to the beach to take pictures and likely see the building for the last time.

“We have yet to receive the report from the structural engineer on the condition of Liam’s,” said Park Commission Chairman Alan McLennen.

“We are proceeding on a very complicated project that this board, ironically, has been studying for 20 years,” he said.

The board did vote to move the gazebo at Nauset on Thursday to avoid it from falling into the ocean.

That structure, which may date back to the 1920’s, was also left precariously perched on the edge of the dune.

“It is an important part of the history of Orleans,” said McClennen.

Town officials said at least 60 feet has been lost at Nauset Beach since the January 4 storm.

“We’ve been working for the last two years on a beach retreat program,” said Town Administrator John Kelly.

“Under the lease, the town has to make a determination that the building is unsafe (before tearing down),” said Kelly.

Parks and beaches director Nate Sears said moving the gazebo on Thursday was essential to saving the structure from falling into the ocean.

Sears said it was also critical to get sand onto the beach where the gazebo is located to avoid the parking from being compromised.

“The gazebo doesn’t have a dune in front of it anymore,” he said.

Sears said it was unclear how the storm had impacted the oversand vehicle trails on the southern end of Nauset Beach.

But he also said they’ve always been able to figure out a way to continue the program.

“My main point is to get this beach operational for the future,” he said.

The board will hold an emergency meeting on Monday at 5 p.m. to discuss what to do with Liam’s.

McClennen, who called Nauset the “biggest and best” east-facing beach on Cape Cod, said they needed to find a way to preserve the accommodations at the beach.

He also said current environmental codes made it cost-prohibitive to consider movable buildings in the future, but suggested they seek special dispensation to create something that would replicate what has already been there for 50 to 60 years.

“Why do we have to comply with all the other codes that make it cost prohibitive,” he said.

McClennen said it was critical to make sure bathing, food and drink are still on the beach.

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director

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