SOUTHWEST HARBOR—Is it a building? Is it a trailer and tent? What will be there next year? Didn’t something already get approved?
Members of the Planning Board had a few questions regarding the MDI Lobster Inc. property during their Zoom meeting online Aug. 6.
“You have to approve what’s there,” said Deputy Code Enforcement Officer Jesse Dunbar to the Planning Board about the structures that are on the property.
After a few minutes of discussion about reviewing a plan presented by the owners of MDI Lobster Inc., located on Clark Point Road, members of the board decided to focus on the tent and food trailer currently at the property.
“The plan that he’s submitted is for the tent and the trailer,” said board member Ben ‘Lee’ Worcester. He pointed out to the other members of the board they had voted the project complete at a March 12 meeting. “The application that I have that we said is complete was for a building.
“As I see this plan, the only major things that have changed is there’s a food trailer and tent. Is that accurate?”
MDI Lobster has been operating a food truck with a tent on the site since July Fourth weekend without permits from the town to do so, which resulted in a cease and desist being served the following week.
In the notice of violation, dated July 10, Code Enforcement Officer John Larson states that MDI Lobster is operating a restaurant without Planning Board approval and that several changes to the property have been made, including 170 cubic yards of fill without a permit.
“We ran out of time,” said co-owner Nick Sayre during the meeting. “That’s why we have a food truck. That’s why we got a state license for a mobile food vendor.”
An application for the business’s expansion into food service was first on an agenda for the Jan. 16 Planning Board meeting. Two Planning Board meetings were postponed because of weather, which pushed the first meeting for MDI Lobster to Feb. 27. Members of the board postponed making a decision about the business’s plan at that meeting because they considered it incomplete.
An updated plan for a three-sided building and a food trailer went before the board on May 7 and was deemed complete. There were more than 20 people who attended a public hearing for the project during the last week of May, including several lawyers representing neighbors to the property.
Several Planning Board members said at the end of the public hearing that the plan for the business had changed too many times and they needed an updated and complete one before continuing with a site plan review.
At the Aug. 6 meeting, members of the board voted 5-0-1 in favor of the application being complete. Mike Levesque abstained from the vote but did not give a reason why. Now that the Planning Board has found the business’s application for a tent and food trailer complete, another public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3 via Zoom.