MOUNT DESERT — Voters at the May 2 town meeting will be asked to authorize the town to give a one-acre parcel of land on Beech Hill Road to the Island Housing Trust (IHT) so that a house that the owner wants to donate can be moved there.
The property, which was deeded to the town in the 1970s, has an assessed value of $126,000.
The house to be donated is at 188 Pretty Marsh Road. Artist Scott Baltz sold the house and 2.76-acre lot last year to 188 Pretty Marsh Nominee Trust. The person behind the trust wishes to remain anonymous, according to Sydney Roberts Rockefeller, a member of the IHT board.
Rockefeller said in a Feb. 3 letter to the Board of Selectmen that the new 188 Pretty Marsh Road property owner has offered to pay the cost of moving the house.
“The offer is a one-bedroom house with an adjacent unattached artist’s studio,” Rockefeller said. “It is a well-built house that would be wonderful for a young couple.”
If voters approve the donation of the lot on Beech Hill Road to the IHT, the IHT would sell the relocated house to someone who meets the organization’s eligibility requirements, which include employment on Mount Desert Island and a household income under a certain amount. The buyer must agree to affordability covenants that regulate the price for which the property may be resold, thereby keeping it within the financial reach of future working families.
Rockefeller said that if voters authorize the town to donate the Beech Hill property, it would be a “win” for everyone, noting that the new owners would pay taxes on it. The property currently generates no tax revenue for the town.
The house has 714 square feet of living space and sits atop a 567-square-foot unfinished basement. The detached studio is 252 square feet. The two buildings are assessed for tax purposes at $93,100.
Rockefeller said the person who has offered to donate the house had originally thought it might be moved to Ripples Hill, the IHT’s workforce housing development off Beech Hill Road.
“But the infrastructure costs make it unrealistic,” she said.