MOUNT DESERT — An ordinance change that will allow residents of Main Street in Northeast Harbor to obtain off-street parking permits was approved by the Select Board May 16.
Initially, 10 parking spaces will be reserved for daytime and overnight parking in the town’s Grey Cow lot for residents of apartments who don’t have access to private off-street parking. The Grey Cow lot is on the east side of the Maine Seacoast Mission building and just uphill from Town Hall.
There are apartments above several stores on Main Street.
“There are a variety of different places around town where (Main Street residents) now bounce around to on-street parking,” said police Captain David Kerns, who drafted the permit parking policy at the request of the Select Board in November.
“We are hoping to have more people living in apartments in the downtown area, and we’re looking for ways to accommodate them,” Select Board member Martha Dudman said at the time.
Kerns was asked last week if the 15 students who will live in the building that College of the Atlantic is building at 141 Main Street would be eligible to obtain a parking permit.
“Potentially yes,” Kerns said. “But in addition to the College of Atlantic building, I think we’ve identified 10 to 15 either full-time residents or apartments for Main Street residents who don’t have off-street parking. So, this provides them a place to park, as well.”
In March 2021, the town’s Planning Board approved COA’s application for a conditional use permit, which allowed construction to begin. But that approval was granted on the condition that COA secure the lease or other long-term use of seven privately owned parking spaces in town because there will be room for only three parking spaces on site. COA cannot receive a certificate of occupancy for the new building until the seven additional parking spaces have been secured.
Kathy Miller, executive director of Mount Desert 365, told the Select Board, “I don’t think this [parking permit policy] was intended to apply to the COA project. I’m not sure if the Planning Board would accept these permits as a solution to COA’s parking problem.”
The parking permit policy gives the Select Board the authority to set fees for permits.
Kerns noted that the board can amend the policy at any time without having to hold a public hearing.