Major Asticou Inn renovation approved 

MOUNT DESERT — A major renovation of the historic Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor will not create any more guest rooms – the number will remain at 31 – but they will be quite a bit larger. 

That is possible because 19 small rooms previously used by staff or, in earlier times, the servants of inn guests are being eliminated to create more space for guests.  

A new interior elevator will be installed and an enclosed staircase for emergency use will be built on the outside of the building. With the removal of an existing open fire escape, there will be a net increase of 74 square feet, Rob Frank of WBRC Architects & Engineers, told the Planning Board.  

The board approved the renovation and minor expansion plan last Wednesday, a month after voters at Town Meeting authorized the creation of a new zoning district specifically for the Asticou 

Before that, no expansion of the inn was allowed because of a zoning oversight nearly 50 years ago. When the land use zoning ordinance was first adopted in the 1970s, it did not permit hotels in the zoning district in which the Asticou was located. 

Because the Asticou had been operating on that site since the late 1800s, its use as a hotel was grandfathered. But it could not expand, even by a few square feet. The creation of the new zoning district eliminates that restriction. 

Officials of the Asti-Kim Corporation, which owns the Asticou, have said that a major renovation of the existing inn and the construction of new guest rooms are needed if the inn is to be financially viable. The corporation has not yet submitted to the town any plans for building additional guest rooms. 

The current renovation plan calls for installation of an underground power line to the inn. 

Tom Savage, who lives across Peabody Drive from the Asticou, said he supports the planned renovation, but he expressed concern about the possibility of damage to a sewer line that runs from his neighborhood across the Asticou property. The precise location of that line isn’t known. 

As a condition of its approval of the renovation plan, the Planning Board is requiring the Asti-Kim Corporation, through its engineering firm, to attempt to locate the sewer line and, if possible, to avoid any adverse impact on it. If any damage to the sewer line occurs as a result of the renovation project, Asti-Kim must repair it. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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