BAR HARBOR — The public is invited to weigh in again on the proposed redevelopment of Acadia Apartments at 25 West St. Extension when the hearing continues before the planning board on Jan. 16 at 4:00 p.m.
According to interim Town Planner Angela Chamberlain, the public hearing will occur pending receipt of updated paperwork from the applicant, Bar Harbor Apartments LLC. Otherwise the public hearing will be tabled to a future date.
The proposed project has faced vocal opposition from neighboring property owners at previous public hearings, letters to the planning board, town planner and town manager, and letters to the editor of the Islander.
Bar Harbor Apartments LLC has proposed to reconfigure the existing 14 units into 16 units. The company plans to reserve 14 of the units for seasonal housing for Ocean Property employees, and make the remaining two year-round, affordable housing units through Planned Unit Development (PUD).
Critics say the proposed development is not allowed by the town’s land use ordinance. Arthur Greif wrote in a Dec. 3 letter to Chamberlain that the proposed site plan did not belong in a residential neighborhood because the proposed apartments for seasonal workers did not meet the definition of residences.
“Housing which largely remains vacant for six months out of the year is not residential housing,” he wrote.
Sargent McCormick of Chicago who owns property near the proposed development wrote in a Nov. 30 email to Town Manager Cornell Knight, “This is a commercial endeavor.”
Town attorney Edmond Bearor said the proposed development falls under residential, not commercial use. He pointed to the land use ordinance definition of commercial use as “The use of lands, buildings, or structures, other than a home occupation as defined below, the intent and result of which activity is the production of income from the buying and selling of goods or services, exclusive of rental and residential buildings and/or dwelling units.”
He said since the units are rented to employees for longer than 30 days, the units are technically residential.