SOUTHWEST HARBOR — John and Marty Williams, owners of Café Drydock & Inn on Main Street, have applied to the town for a permit to build a parking lot on the 1.05-acre lot at 376 Main Street known locally as “the Murphy property.”
They are asking that the town’s approved use of the property, which is just to the south of Penury Hall Bed and Breakfast, be changed from residential to commercial parking.
The planning board reviewed the application May 16 and is scheduled to continue its consideration of the parking lot plan at its June 20 meeting. John Williams, who sits on the planning board, has recused himself from the deliberations.
The Williamses appear to be confident that their change-in-use application will be approved. They have graded the lot, begun landscaping and put up a sign with a number to call for information about permit parking.
According to the Williamses’ application, the parking lot would have 81 spaces for cars, nine for motorcycles, seven for RVs and tour buses and an area for bicycles. Parking would be free for Café Drydock staff and customers; others could buy a permit to park.
“The town needs parking and the Drydock needs parking,” Marty Williams said last Friday.
She said that, in the winter, part of the lot might be used for boat storage.
“Down the road, the land could be separated … if we decide we want to take the back half and build a house or something,” she said. “But right now, we’re going to have a parking lot.”
The lot is across the street and less than a block from Café Drydock. The Williamses bought it three-and-a-half years ago.
“There was an old house on it that could not be saved, so it was torn down and we had a vacant lot,” Williams said.
In 2016, town officials considered buying the property and creating a lot for a combination of free short-term and paid long-term parking. The purchase would have required voter approval, and the board of selectmen felt there was a lack of public support.
At the time, the property was listed for sale at $375,000. Last year, the land was assessed for tax purposes at $197,300.
Williams said Café Drydock & Inn opened for its thirty-second season last Friday.