Instead of charging rental fees at this parking lot planned for the corner of Cottage Street and Kennebec Avenue, owner Karol Foss is asking for donations for three Bar Harbor nonprofits. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

To use prime parking lot, businesses asked to donate

BAR HARBOR — A new parking lot in the works at what’s currently a vacant lot on Cottage Street will be used by nearby businesses for employee parking. But rather than charge rent for the blocks of spaces leased to each participating business, owner Karol Foss will ask the businesses to make contributions to three local nonprofits. 

“By a donation to either Friends of Acadia, the Bar Harbor Historical Society or the Criterion Theatre, the interested businesses will be able to negotiate the location and number of spaces to be reserved,” engineer Greg Johnston, representing Foss, wrote in a recent filing with the town Planning and Code Department. 

Details of how those arrangements might work were not yet available. A manager or management company for the lot operations has not yet been identified, Johnston told the Islander. “We would like to get through the various approvals” first, he said. 

The Planning Board reviewed plans for the parking lot May 6 and is set to hold a public hearing June 3. The plans have been revised since an initial review last year, incorporating feedback from neighbors and others. 

The plan has been rearranged to eliminate an entrance on Kennebec Street, Johnston said, additional landscaping and buffering added. 

“This is a good example of the fruits of having some neighborhood meetings,” said Planning Board Chair Tom St. Germain. 

Board member John Fitzpatrick asked about requiring certain standards for upkeep of the lot, “so three years from now, this looks like (the plans) and not a desert wasteland because the irrigation got turned off.” 

The lot has had many uses over the years. Foss bought the property from the Bar Harbor Historical Society, which had intended to develop it as a museum. Those plans changed when Bar Harbor Historical Society was able to purchase the mansion La Rochelle on West Street, to renovate for that purpose. 

Before the historical society purchased the Cottage Street lot in May 2018, it was owned by Tom Alley under the name Worthy, LLC. Over the years, the property has housed a Thai restaurant, ice cream shop, arcade and gas station. 


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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