BAR HARBOR – A housing complex used in part for seasonal workers in Bar Harbor might be expanding, and that raised some concerns from residents.
While quiet this time of year, neighbors said Acadia Apartments on West Street Extension, used mainly for seasonal hotel workers, can get loud and disruptive during tourist season. The developer, Ocean Properties, is looking to expand on that location, adding a couple new buildings.
At Wednesday’s planning board meeting, some locals said the 90 people already living there over the summer aren’t good neighbors, and that the property already does not follow local ordinances.
Others said they think it’s a way to approach the housing problems in Bar Harbor.
Elizabeth Mills spoke to planning board members about the “noise, turbulance, and trespassing” she fears will come from more units. She said the new buildings would infringe on her historic home and gardens which draw people to the area. Mills also said she’s found needles and trash on her property since the temporary housing started.
“The police are up there all the time at this site trying to stop the wild parties and it’s really a problem,” said Mills.
Others who spoke at the public hearing were town councilors who said they weren’t there on behalf of the town, but as residents feel this could be part of solving the ongoing housing problem.
“That’s kind of how it works,” said Stephen Coston. “We need more dwelling units, and they’re proposing more units.”
“We have to do everything we can to provide and encourage business people to provide more housing,” said Gary Friedmann.
Still others against the expansion said while temporary worker housing is needed, Ocean Properties is not following zoning ordinances. Residents said that location was supposed to be for low income full-time residents.
“This was allowed to go in there back in the 80’s because it was to solve that problem…not to create a situation that is both bad for the neighborhood but also bad for the workers,” said Sargent McCormick Collier.
Wednesday night’s meeting lasted four and a half hours. At the end, planning board members agreed to continue discussion at their next meeting on Dec. 19th, as long as Ocean Properties gets them more information first.
Update: The night of the meeting, our news team was not able to reach Ocean Properties for official comment. Their later response can be found at a story from Dec. 6 here .