Hotel’s employee housing apartment plan appealed

BAR HARBOR — Resident Elizabeth Mills has appealed the town’s decision to approve hotel company Ocean Properties’ plan to expand an apartment complex used for seasonal employee housing.

The planning board gave the application conditional approval in January, with the final approval made on Feb. 6. According to the board, the application met the requirements of Planned Unit Development (PUD), which allowed the development to be exempt from area-per-family requirements in the Land Use Ordinance (LUO).

With the approved application, Ocean Properties plans to turn 16 apartment units into 18 units, 16 of which will be seasonal employee housing, and two of which will be for year-round affordable housing.

Mills, whose historic house and garden abuts the proposed development, filed the appeal March 19. The appeals board will consider it April 9.

According to Mills’ appeal, the 18-unit development did not meet the requirements for PUD, because it is “not residential; it is temporary worker housing.”

Town Attorney Edmond Bearor said in December that according to the LUO, any unit rented for more than 30 days is considered to be residential.

The appeal also stated that the planning board misinterpreted the definition of “families.”

According to the appeal, because the apartment complex will house unrelated individuals in each unit, it “does not serve families as defined by LUO 125-109 and so is not permitted … to be in the village residential district.”

Mills also appealed on the basis that planning board miscalculated the number of affordable housing units required under PUD. The approved application included two affordable units, according to the appeal, “when a plain reading of the LUO makes it clear that 5 out of 16 units must be affordable.”

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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