Town, lobster company ink agreement on noise

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — MDI Lobster Company has until the last day of March 2019 to find an alternative, less noisy method of cooling their bait in order to avoid hefty fines, under the terms of a consent agreement with the town.

The agreement, drawn up by the town, was signed by all parties, including selectmen, at the Nov. 27 meeting of the board of selectmen. Beginning April 1, if the “objectionable” noise produced by a refrigerated trailer on the property has not been reduced or stopped, the company will have to pay $100 per day, plus the town’s legal costs.

Several neighbors of the business, as well as the owners of MDI Lobster Company, located on Clark Point Road attended the Oct. 9 board meeting to air grievances. At that meeting, selectmen approved funds for the code enforcement officer to pursue litigation, if necessary, with the company on the matter.

At the following selectmen meeting on Oct. 23, an initial consent agreement was presented to selectmen for approval. Their only suggestion was to have the owners of MDI Lobster Company meet with the town’s planning board at the soonest possible date. One neighbor voiced concerns at the meeting that the town was not taking enough action to aid those in the neighborhood who have dealt with the noise since summer.

“I live next to this, it goes on 24/7,” said Ann Napier, a neighboring resident. “It’s been going on since July … I’ve had somebody say the only way they can get away from the sound is to leave their home. My windows are closed and my china still shakes three doors down.”

According to Town Manager Justin VanDongen, the company has plans to work with power company Emera Maine to install an electrical outlet large enough for a cooler. That installation would eliminate the need for the trailer cooler, which is run by a generator.

MDI Lobster Company owners Nicholas Sayer and Joe Debeck declined to comment on the agreement, but have lent their signatures to it.

Town officials are optimistic the colder temperatures may reduce the need to run the cooling trailer motor as often as during warmer months. They also have acknowledged lack of foliage cover during the winter could amplify the noise in the neighborhood.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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