Wednesday, 16 January 2019 22:17

Planning board approve housing expansion disliked by neighbors Featured

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BAR HARBOR - The Bar Harbor Planning Board approved expansion plans at Acadia Apartments that had some residents concerned.


Acadia Apartments, over on West Street Extension, currently houses seasonal workers. The developer, Ocean Properties, said they planned to add two units.


Those plans were approved on Wednesday night after much discussion.


"Instead of buying up other homes, we're looking to maximize the property that we have and keep things where we already have it, which minimizes the impact," said Eben Salvatore, Bar Harbor Resorts's Director of Operations.


But at a planning board meeting Wednesday night, some year-round residents echoed concerns from a similar meeting in December.


They said the seasonal workers party into the early morning hours and leave trash near a historic part of town. They were worried it would only get worse.


"We live in a family neighborhood," said Donna Karlson, a Bar Harbor resident. "Most of our year round residents, some of them go back generations here on the island, they go to bed early."


The developer said they're looking to raise their occupancy from 80 dormers to 90.


Debate lasted hours Wednesday night, some of it on whether developers were following local ordinances. Some residents said the proposed plans weren't.


"I counted up eighteen requirements and I think they meet three," said Jeffrey Crafts, an engineer who has worked with some of the neighbors of Acadia Apartments.


Other concerns involve missing documents, the planned use development ordinance, and whether the development actually counts as affordable housing.


Locals said that property was originally intended to be for low income housing.


"No one is going to be in these dormitories except employees," said Crafts. "It's not an affordable house in any way, shape, or form."


But leaders of the expansion project said as they've made changes to plans, they're making sure to follow local ordinances.


They've been meeting with neighbors and have downsized from the original plan.


At the end of the day, the developers said they're proud to have the workers at Acadia Apartments.


"They're good kids, they're here to work, they're not the loud and crazy party animals that they're made out to be," said Salvatore.


He said they would begin construction, starting with storm drain issues that had concerned some neighbors, as soon as the weather permits.

Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...