BAR HARBOR — A former town councilor is barred from renting an apartment on his property by the week, after action by the town’s code enforcement officer.
Robert Jordan and his wife Kate, of Ledgelawn Avenue, were notified at the end of August that a space above their garage that they had been advertising as a weekly rental this summer could not be used for such an activity. Code enforcement officer Angela Chamberlain, in a written notice of violation Aug. 22, ordered the couple to stop renting and advertising the space as a transient accommodation and to schedule time for an inspection of the space.
Weekly rentals are allowed in all districts in Bar Harbor. However, the ordinance refers to weekly, or “vacation,” rentals as being for less than 30 days in a dwelling unit. However, the Jordans’ space on the top floor of their garage is not considered a dwelling unit because it has no kitchen.
When the use of the space was permitted in 2008, it was as a guest room. The space could not include a kitchen, which would have made it into a dwelling unit, because Chamberlain found at the time that the property did not have enough room for an additional dwelling unit. The property already includes an apartment on the third floor of the Jordans’ house, which is considered a dwelling unit.
The Jordans had, until this year, used the garage apartment as a year-round rental, Mr. Jordan said. This activity is allowed, as there is no provision in the ordinance that states that a year-round rental must be in a dwelling unit.
A neighbor of the Jordans complained to Chamberlain about the people coming and going from the property this summer, prompting her investigation. She discovered evidence that the property was listed on the Air B&B website as “Bar Harbor Hideaway,” a weekly vacation rental, at a price of $950 per week.
After receiving the violation notice at the end of August, the Jordans applied for a vacation rental permit. However, their application was denied on the basis that the space does not have a kitchen and so does not qualify as a dwelling unit.
Mr. Jordan said Tuesday that he found the process to be a vexing one.
“Someone could live there year round, and its no problem, but someone is going to stay there for a week at a time, it’s a problem?” he said. “It’s frustrating.”