MDI Lobster increases floor plan

SOUTHWEST HARBOR  With a 24-foot addition to the three-sided building they are proposing at 126 Clark Point Road, MDI Lobster Company’s application was found complete by members of the Planning Board last week.  

Members of the board also determined the area designated for 32 parking spaces would need level three buffering. Neighbors, represented by attorneys at the teleconference meeting on May 7, are questioning whether current plans for six-foot fencing is adequate to buffer their properties from the business.  

Code Enforcement Officer John Larson pointed out that there were shrubs included on the plan when business owners asked if shrubs were necessary with the fence.  

Owners of the lobster business are proposing a 2,000 square-foot building with some of the 135 seats for dining included inside the structure. One wall of the building, intended to house a food trailer, will remain open to the outside, according to the business owners.  

Now that the application has been approved as complete, a public hearing will need to take place. Review of the company’s application was postponed twice during the winter due to weather. When it did go before the board in the beginning of March, there were several missing details. There has not been a Planning Board meeting since mid-March when public municipal meetings were put on hold due to COVID-19.  

“We’ve been a long time at this,” said co-owner Joe DeBeck to the Planning Board, about having a public hearing sooner rather than later. “I know that things aren’t normal anymore, but it’s been a long time.” 

Members of the Planning Board also reviewed an application for an outdoor vendors market at 55 Main Street. That property was served a cease-and-desist order at the beginning of April for land-use ordinance violations. The application, which includes space for at least 50 parking spaces and an area for up to 20 vendors, was voted complete by all seven members of the board.  

“We’re not planning on building anything,” said landowner Holly Masterson, who is one of several fishermen selling her catch at a Saturday morning market on the property. “There does need to be more [site] work done there.” 

“Are you planning to supply tables for people to eat at?” asked Planning Board member Ben ‘Lee’ Worcester. “Our ordinance, it does not address farmers market, open air market. It does not address any of this… Our ordinance doesn’t require parking until she puts in tables.” 

Masterson said they could put as many as 10 tables at the property this year for people attending the market.  

“This is going to be a lot of grab and go,” she added. “We’re thinking we can have 100 parking spots with our north end and our south end.” 

Worcester then explained the Planning Board needed to determine if the lot would be a level one, two or three as far as buffering requirements go. Members of the board were divided on which level, but it was deemed level three by a 4-3 vote. Parking lots typically fall into the level three category.  

Chair Eric Davis, Mike Levesque and Jack Ksionzyk voted against it being level three.  

At the Planning Board’s discretion, some of the requirements for level three buffering can be adjusted according to specific criteria, one being the hours of operation. Masterson explained the market would be a dusk-to-dawn operation, which means buffering to address headlights would not apply.  

“If it’s a level three, she may have enough natural buffering,” said Davis prior to the vote.  

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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