SOUTHWEST HARBOR–Although the owners of 55 Main Street were issued a cease-and-desist order on April 1, they have continued to host an outdoor vendor’s market each Saturday since.
Property owners Holly Masterson and David Horner were issued the cease-and-desist order for land use ordinance violations, which include permits for change of use, between 100-500 cubic yards of fill, and submission of a stormwater erosion plan.
“They have now submitted their site plan and stormwater plan,” said Deputy Code Enforcement Officer Jesse Dunbar, adding that they are also on the May 7 planning board agenda. “It’s being reviewed as an outdoor vendor market.”
In the violation notice, the deadline to submit the plans was April 30.
April 4 was the first Saturday an outdoor vendor market took place on the property, where fishermen and women, including Masterson, were selling lobster, scallops and oysters. Throughout the month, the list of vendors has grown to include a local farmer who has pork, chicken and honey available. Service at the market is drive-through where shoppers remain in their vehicles in order to comply with state gathering guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s great what they are doing,” said Dunbar, adding the town would only take further enforcement action if the property owners were not responding to the notice of violation. “They are complying with the order and submitting their paperwork.”
An application for the property was submitted to the town last fall, according to Dunbar. According to the violation notice, it was incomplete, unpaid and was missing plans for the site and stormwater erosion. There was no response when the code enforcement officer reached out in an attempt to complete the application.
“They weren’t responding to our calls,” said Dunbar. “They have no permits whatsoever.”
During their meeting earlier this week, Selectman Chad Terry stated he would not vote in favor of the town pursuing legal action against the property owners, if that became an option. He expressed support for fishermen and women having a venue to sell their catch.
“I feel you can do what you want with your property to some extent,” he added.
“It’s not the fishermen,” said Town Manager Justin VanDongen in response. “It’s the use of the property… It’s a violation for the person who turned it into a parking lot. They just want them to make sure the standards for a parking lot are met.”