SOUTHWEST HARBOR–A half-acre parcel of property at 392 Main Street that neighbors Chris’s Pond has come before the town as an investment option before it goes up for sale on the open market.
Selectmen voted to pursue options, presented to Maine Coast Heritage Trust by its owners, for the property to be a possible enhancement to the Chris’s Pond property. A conservation easement is held by MCHT for the Chris’s Pond property, which is on the other side of a right of way from the half-acre parcel up for consideration.
“They aren’t abutting properties,” explained Misha Mytar, who works for MCHT, during the Tuesday night Board of Selectmen meeting via Zoom. “They are separated by 20 feet.”
That 20 feet is a right of way that follows the path of Chris’s Lane and goes along the north side of the pond, where a warming shack now sits, to access a parcel of property above the pond that has been for sale for the last few years.
The half-acre property is valued at $205,800, is heavily wooded and contains a house built in 1880 that is in poor condition. It has about 100 feet along Main Street and access to the town’s public water and sewer lines. It is listed under John Letcher in the town’s tax commitment records. He died in 2018, and those managing the property reached out to Maine Coast Heritage Trust through their real estate broker.
In addition to enhancing the Chris’s Pond property, members of the board talked about it being an option for workforce housing. Maine Coast Heritage Trust is reaching out to pond users, community members and the town to see if there is interest in acquiring the property, whether as a town property or in partnership with a nonprofit organization. It could provide more parking space and other amenities for users of Chris’s Pond, but would require a significant amount of site work.
“I’m not a huge fan of losing more land from our tax base,” said Kristin Hutchins, a member of the board. “But, if it could enhance Chris’s Pond, I certainly would be interested.”
In 1994, following a student-led campaign to save the two-acre, town-owned property known as Chris’s Pond, voters at the annual Town Meeting approved a conservation easement held by Maine Coast Heritage Trust to preserve it. It is a popular skating spot in the winter for members of the community.
“I do feel Chris’s Pond is a pretty amazing little gem in our community,” said selectman Ryan Donahue.