seawall road
Cars line one side of Seawall Road across from Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound last summer. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

No-parking request fails to come to a vote 

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Charlotte Gill has once again triumphed over moves to limit parking near her lobster pound in Seawall. 

At Tuesday’s Select Board meeting, a request by the town manager to eliminate parking on a portion of Route 102 failed to even get a vote of the board. The measure to eliminate parking only had one supporter – Select Board Chairman Geoge Jellison.  

Since last summer, Jellison, with little support from other members of the board, has made continuous attempts to eliminate parking from a portion of Route 102 by the seasonal restaurant.  

Jellison placed “no parking” signs without the town’s permission along the state road last year, which is located near the residence of his sister Aimee Jellison Williams, who has also been vocal about the parking situation.  

Gill, owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound, says her business relies on that part of the road for customer parking. Though the restaurant’s customers have been parking on that road for years, well before Charlotte began leasing the building, some neighbors have said that her customers were intruding on their property. 

In an attempt to reach a compromise, an ad-hoc committee was formed last year to investigate the parking situation around the lobster pound and come back in March with a plan. Local Police Chief John Hall provided the recommendations to the Select Board at a March 22 meeting. 

According to Hall, the committee had several meetings that were called “successful.” Abutting property owners were contacted by the committee and told it was OK to modify their property on the edge of the road to physically prevent cars from parking on their land.  

In early June, the neighbors who placed boulders and fencing along the roadside received notices from the Maine Department of Transportation ordering the barriers to be removed because they were in the state’s right of way. John Devin of the Eastern Regional Office of the Department of Transportation said the property owners now have less than 30 days to remove the barriers or else the state will remove them at the property owners’ expense. 

State statute MRS Title 23, Section 1401-A says that obstacles within 33 feet of the centerline of a two-lane state highway are forbidden. 

On Tuesday, the latest attempt to restrict parking included another request to place “no parking” signs on Route 102 from Trap Mill Road to Balsam Way. Once the agenda item was introduced, those in attendance quickly started yelling over each other and Jellison was unable to bring the meeting under control. 

“I’m not going to allow any comments,” said Jellison, before the public demanded, and then proceeded, to speak on the matter. 

Attorney Matt Jacobs of Southwest Harbor told Jellison he was breaking a number of laws by singling out one establishment. “According to the U.S. Constitution, Article One, Section Nine, paragraph three provides that ‘no Bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed,’” he said, adding, “It seems like these no parking signs are directed to an individual or group, and we all know who that is, just like passing a law saying there should be no entrance into or out of the driveway, will also be an illegal act passed by this board.” 

Jellison tried to prevent the audience from speaking and at one point said that if people spoke, he would have them removed from the meeting by the police chief. 

Jellison called for a motion on the agenda item three different times during the conversation and none of the other board members would make it. After the unsuccessful attempts, Jellison moved on to other business.  

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

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