Property owners gauging interest

SOUTHWEST HARBORLess than a month after voters decided against building a proposed $1.9 million town garage, a neighboring property owner is gauging the town’s interest in a metal building similar to the one proposed.  

“We had reached out to them inquiring about renting one of the bays if the vote failed,” said Town Manager Justin VanDongen on Wednesday in a conversation with the Islander.  

He discussed the property with selectmen at their Tuesday night meeting via Zoom.  

“There is an opportunity we may have, maybe at first lease, but longer term purchase, a building that is located kind of behind the town garage that would serve as a new town garage,” VanDongen explained to the board. “We haven’t discussed pricing. Right now, the owners (three parties but four shares) are discussing among themselves what their interest is in selling the building. 

“It’s roughly the same size as the building we were talking about building,” he added. VanDongen did not disclose the owners of the parcel to the Islander.  

The four-bay metal garage sits on a three-and-a-half-acre parcel of land that abuts the town’s public works Seal Cove Road property. According to Public Works Foreman Scott Alley, it was built in 2005. Access to the property being discussed is on Mountain View Road. It can also be accessed from Marshall Brook Road.  

“I think we should look into it,” said Allen ‘Snap’ Willey when asked by chairman Kristin Hutchins his thoughts on the matter. 

Alley, Deputy Code Enforcement Officer Jesse Dunbar and VanDongen have all visited the property to determine whether it would be a good fit for the town or not. 

“The good thing is the two-bay one that we were proposing to design and build wouldn’t house the school buses,” Alley said to selectmen. “But this building will house the school buses too.” 

VanDongen pointed out that utilities are separate in each of the bays of the garage, which would allow the town to track individual costs within the operation. 

“It’s not built as well, especially the foundation,” he said to selectmen, “but it still meets all the specs that it needs to meet. There are floor drains in the building.” 

If the town were to utilize the property, VanDongen suggested there would need to be a stream crossing built in order to access the town’s current property for sand, salt and other uses. 

“I think it’s probably the least expensive option we’ve seen so far,” VanDongen said to the board. “It’s a matter of the sellers deciding whether or not they want to sell and for how much.”  

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

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

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