A sign at this Main Street property in Southwest Harbor has a phone number to call for information about permit parking. The property owners, who also own Café Drydock & Inn, have applied to the town for a permit to change the use of the formerly residential property, but the application is still pending. ISLANDER PHOTOS BY DICK BROOM

Neighbors question parking lot



SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A planned new, commercial parking lot on Main Street will disrupt the residential neighborhood, one neighbor told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday.

“A floodlight shines directly into our bedroom,” resident Ann Walok told selectmen. She said the lot at 376 Main Street, just to the south of Penury Hall Bed and Breakfast, is zoned for mixed use “and has been residential for over 100 years.”

John and Marty Williams, owners of Café Drydock & Inn on Main Street, applied to the town for a permit to build a parking lot on the 1.05-acre lot known locally as “the Murphy property.” The planning board reviewed the application May 16 and is scheduled to continue its consideration of the parking lot plan at its June 20 meeting. John Williams, who sits on the planning board, has recused himself from the deliberations.

The Williamses have already graded the lot, begun landscaping and put up a sign with a number to call for information about permit parking.

According to Walok, the Williamses have ignored erosion and sedimentation control standards, neglected to plant trees that would help with buffering and failed to mitigate stormwater runoff.

At a Board of Selectmen meeting last month, resident Susan Homer also asked if the town had a plan to deal with stormwater runoff from the parking lot.

At both meetings, selectmen said the Planning Board, not the Board of Selectmen, handles such issues.

“We have met with the code enforcement officer, the Planning Board, and the town manager,” Walok said Tuesday. “It is inappropriate to use this location as a parking lot until the proper procedures and permitting process has been completed, yet not one of these agencies has suspended its use.

“Everything is after the fact and missing,” she continued.

Town Manager Justin VanDongen said the Williamses’ application did note that it would be a change of use for the property. It’s up to the Planning Board to decide whether that use conforms with zoning rules and whether all applicable requirements are met.

The lot is across the street and less than a block from Café Drydock. The Williamses bought it three-and-a-half years ago.

“There was an old house on it that could not be saved, so it was torn down and we had a vacant lot,” Marty Williams told the Islander in May.

According to the application, the parking lot would have 81 spaces for cars, nine for motorcycles, seven for RVs and tour buses and an area for bicycles. Parking would be free for Café Drydock staff and customers; others could buy a permit to park.

Blake Cass

Blake Cass

Blake Cass

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