Whether or not to create a new zoning district for Asticou Inn is one of the items to be decided by Mount Desert voters at the Aug. 11 drive-in town meeting. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Budgets, new Asticou zone going to voters: Town Meeting is Aug. 11

MOUNT DESERT— Voters at the Aug. 11 Town Meeting will decide whether to create a new zoning district for the Asticou Inn so that it can legally expand and to authorize the town to spend up to $295,000 as its share of completing the reconstruction of Route 198. 

Voters also will be asked to approve a municipal budget for 2020-2021 totaling $10.5 million and an elementary school budget of just over $4.7 million. The overall budget would increase property taxes by 3.87 percent. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be a “drive-in” Town Meeting like the one Bar Harbor held a few weeks ago in the front parking lot at Mount Desert Island High School. It will start at 5:30 p.m.  

In the event of rain, the Town Meeting will be held the following day, Aug. 12. 

Asticou Inn zoning 

The Asticou Inn is in the Shoreland Residential 2 zoning district, which does not allow hotels. Because the Asticou had been on the site for moren 80 years before the Land Use Zoning Ordinance was adopted in 1978, it was a grandfathered use and could continue to operate. But it cannot legally expand beyond its current footprint. 

Officials of the Asti-Kim Corporation, which owns the inn, have said a major rehabilitation and expansion is needed if it is to remain financially viable. They would like to replace the 31 existing guest rooms in the inn’s main building, many of which are quite small, with about 20 larger rooms and, at the same time, replace the three, two-room “topsider” cottages with several new cottages or an annex with perhaps 21 rooms. 

Such an expansion would be permitted if the proposed new zoning district is approved. 

Route 198 completion 

Last year, reconstruction of Route 198 had to be stopped before it was finished because costs exceeded the budget. Now, voters at the Town Meeting will be asked to authorize the town to spend up to $295,000 to complete the 0.15 section of the road between Eagle Lake Road and the southern end of Butler Road. The Maine Department of Transportation would pay an equal amount. 

Bait House  

The town-owned Bait House on Dodge Point Road in Seal Harbor needs an additional $70,000 in improvements to bring it up to code so that it can be used by local lobstermen. 

Voters at Town Meeting will be asked to approve that expenditure and to authorize the Board of Selectmen to lease the building to the Seal Harbor Fishermen’s Association for a term of five years. The rent would remain at $1 a year. 

Rooming houses 

A proposal to allow rooming houses in the Village Commercial zoning district will be on the Town Meeting warrant. A note on the warrant defines a rooming house as a building that provides sleeping accommodations for a total of 16 or fewer people for no less than 30 days or on a permanent basis.” 

Shared on-site cooking and eating facilities must be provided, along with at least one bathroom for every eight people. 

Food trucks 

Licenses for “mobile food vendors” – commonly known as food trucks – at the Northeast Harbor Marina will be valid for three years if voters approve. Currently, those licenses are good for only one year. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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