SOUTHWEST HARBOR— “There will always be croquet at the Claremont,” new owner Tim Harrington said at the Oct. 1 Planning Board meeting. “That’s what I always get asked.”
Harrington, who recently purchased the 136-year old hotel, and his project manager, presented a plan for a pool, deck and parking area at the site on Claremont Road during the meeting. A public hearing for the project and unanimous approval of the plan by the board also took place at the meeting.
“We’re looking to put them between the two croquet courts by the water,” said Stephen Sawyer, a senior vice president at engineering firm Sebago Technics, during the presentation of the plan for a pool and a 336-square-foot deck that will afford a view of Somes Sound.
Sawyer went on to explain the two new structures are within the shoreland zone on the property, which is already at the allowable 20 percent lot coverage.
“In order to do these, we need to take out a few things,” he added, noting they are planning to remove a parking area and walking paths in the zone to comply with regulations.
Construction on the pool has already begun and is expected to continue through the winter, Harrington explained in a phone conversation this week. There are also plans to remove the tennis courts on the hotel property and transition that space to a parking lot.
“By redoing the tennis court, we’ll increase parking by, like, three spaces,” said Sawyer.
Members of the Planning Board then had a lengthy discussion regarding buffering for the proposed parking lot. They referenced two other parking lots they had reviewed in the last year, including one on Main Street in downtown that has faced scrutiny from neighbors, and one on North Main Street where an outdoor market takes place each weekend.
“What are we buffering them from, themselves?” Asked Planning Board member Ben ‘Lee’ Worcester. “In all fairness, we have treated all parking lots as Level 3… I agree with you, Eric [Davis], that this doesn’t come to the level of Level 3.”
At this time, all property surrounding the proposed parking area is part of the hotel. There are plans for increased landscaping at the entry of the property, some of which is considered buffering, that will mainly include flowers.
Harrington closed on the sale of the property a little less than a month ago. The hotel was closed to the public this season because of the pandemic and had been listed for sale earlier this year.
“I’m really excited to be here,” Harrington told members of the board.