Lab reapplies for apartment complex

BAR HARBOR — The Jackson Laboratory’s new proposal for an employee housing development on Schooner Head Road is a bit smaller than the organization’s first plan, which was withdrawn last month when the Planning Board raised questions about whether it could meet land use standards.

The first phase of the new Schooner Head Housing project, like the prior plan, is for 44 units, but the full buildout in future phases may be only 80 units, down from 100 in the original plan.

The Planning Board conducted an initial sketch plan review of the new project July 8 and was set to have a neighborhood meeting via Zoom on Wednesday. The laboratory has also already held a private meeting with “our neighbors and abutters, basically anybody that’s within earshot,” said John Fitzpatrick, the lab’s facilities director and also a member of the Planning Board.

The apartments would be on town water but would use a private septic system, as is required by Section O of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) rules under which the multifamily buildings are being proposed. The applicants have to use the PUD construct, project representative Sarah Nicholson explained, to have more than five apartments in each building.

The initial application was a collaboration with Brunswick-based Developers Collaborative. That company was going to lease the land from the lab and own, maintain and manage the building units and pay taxes on the property.

This time around, the nonprofit institution is the sole applicant.

“If JAX is going to build this and own this and control this, what does that imply in terms of town taxes?” neighbor Will Schroeder asked at the July 8 meeting.

“That’s something we would have to look at,” said Kelly Doran, the lab’s director of engineering and capital projects. “With this Planning Board application, that’s not something we’ve discussed in detail.”

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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