Theater application details are sought



TREMONT — A theater group’s after-the-fact application to address code enforcement violations was found to be incomplete Tuesday by the planning board.

Andrew and Matthew Simon, owners of a residence across from the Tremont Consolidated School, were sent a notice in August stating that use of a barn on the property for theatrical performances and a sign advertising those performances violate two sections of the town’s zoning ordinance. Andrew Simon, founder of the Mohawk Arts Collective, began producing plays and musical events in the barn six years ago.

Simon and a number of his supporters were at the planning board meeting, as were several neighboring property owners who expressed concerns about the use of the property.

The planning board unanimously agreed that the application was incomplete for two reasons.

First, the drawing submitted with the application failed to include all structures on the property as well as any setbacks from property lines, the Tremont Road and the high-water mark. Secondly, Simon failed to adequately address parking for theatrical events. He was asked to return at a future meeting with an application that addresses these omissions.

A public hearing held prior to the board’s review of the application for completeness raised other issues about the use of the property for theatrical performances.

Neighboring property owners, while saying they had no objection to what the Mohawk Collective was doing, told the board they were concerned about noise generated after the performances. Charly and Bill Weir said that the property becomes the scene of a loud party around a fire pit that sometimes lasts until 2 a.m. or so.

Simon told the board he had been in talks with the Weirs and believes they are coming to a resolution about an appropriate time for activities to end.

Parking was a concern of the board and another neighbor, Linda Higgins.

Under the ordinance, the theater, as a home occupation business, must provide a total of five parking spaces, two for the residents and three for “customers.”

Simon and some of his supporters argued that people attending the performances have been parking either at the Tremont school lot or in the adjacent town-owned Murphy lot. This led to a discussion of whether public parking should be considered in meeting the requirements of the ordinance.

Some of the neighbors argued that other home occupancy businesses must show they meet parking requirements before getting planning board approval. However, the availability of public parking in regards to the requirement was not clear in the ordinance.

“The precedent is rather murky now,” chairman Mike Ryan said.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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