Tremont campground application goes before board again

TREMONT During a May 11 completeness review conducted by the Tremont Planning Board regarding the proposed Pointy Head Campground at 158 Harbor Drive in Bass Harbor, more aspects than not of the new application presented by engineer and project manager Jeff Crafts were deemed incomplete.

As a result, members of the Planning Board voted unanimously to find the application incomplete. 

Prior to the application review, the campground’s attorney, Edmond Bearor, explained, “I do think your ordinance treats us as a campground, but truly, when you look carefully at what we propose to do, it is more like an Airbnb or whatever you want to call it. We’re not going to have RVs coming into the property. We’re not going to have people bringing their tents in and setting up in various sites. These are all fixed locations with a fixed little structure on each of the 15 spots.” 

Last fall, an application for a 15-site campground, which included several cabins as well as platforms for tents, was denied by the Planning Board on the basis that four aspects had not met ordinance standards. That decision was appealed and heard by the town’s Board of Appeals. During the hearing, the appeal was withdrawn by Bearor after there was confusion from the appeals board about which town ordinance the Planning Board used to review the application – the Land Use Ordinance or the Site Plan Review Ordinance. After withdrawing the appeal, Bearor said the campground representatives would refile a modified application to the Planning Board at a future date. 

Voters recently approved amendments to the Land Use Ordinance at Town Meeting meant to integrate the two ordinances so that future reviews of site plan applications can be held to appropriate standards on both ordinances.  

A vote on amendments to the Site Plan Review Ordinance was passed over at Town Meeting due to lack of a public hearing that should have been held by the Board of Selectmen to have it go before voters. According to Town Manager Chris Saunders, approval of amendments to one of the ordinances supports integration of the two. 

Earlier this year, Crafts and others representing the project held a preconference with members of the Planning Board to gather information prior to bringing an application for the campground before the board again. During the recent meeting, Crafts referred several times to items “already on record” from the previous application review process when they were found incomplete by the Planning Board.  

“We’re looking at this as a brandnew application, Jeff,” said Planning Board Chairman Mark Good during the recent meeting. 

“This is a new application, so we want to look directly at this and not look back as to the prior one,” reiterated Planning Board member Geoffrey Young.  

At the beginning of the review, Crafts made a statement to explain the application before the board. “Anything that was in compliance in the past, we have resubmitted,” he said. “We have then done another stormwater analysis, we have more information on the road. We have more information on the buffering and the pollution. 

“If you go down Jesse’s checklistyou’ll find that we should be complete tonight.” 

One point of contention during the previous application process was the road to access the property. Because it is located in the Commercial Fisheries and Maritime Zone, it would have to qualify as a nonconforming use for the project. 

“You have a letter from the attorney general saying that what we’ve proposed to do with this road is acceptable within the commercial fisheries zone,” Bearor explained prior to the application review.  

The original version of this story contained an error. A vote to find the application incomplete was approved unanimously by the Planning Board. 

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

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

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