MOUNT DESERT — If you take a boat or trailer to the Otter Cove landing in Otter Creek, you’ll have to back down the narrow, rocky lane from Grover Avenue because there is no room to turn around at the bottom.
At the request of Steve Smith and a few other Otter Creek residents, town officials this spring asked Acadia National Park, which owns the land on either side of the lane, about the possibility of creating a vehicle turnaround area.
The response was not what they had hoped for.
Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider said in an email to Town Manager Durlin Lunt that the deed to the town’s 0.2-acre parcel does not allow for construction of a turnaround.
“In addition, the space that is not yet developed within the deeded area is within the intertidal zone, and, although potentially developable by the town after extensive permitting, the construction would not be supported by the park,” Schneider said.
He added that further development would have “adverse impacts on the shoreline.”
Tony Smith, the town’s Public Works director, visited the boat landing in late April with Keith Johnson, Acadia’s chief of facilities management, and Jason Flynn, the park’s environmental protection specialist.
Schneider said one of the possibilities they discussed was expanding the town-owned property and cutting into the hillside near the boat ramp to create a turnaround. He noted that the park is allowed to exchange land in certain circumstances. And he said that if the town wants to discuss a land exchange to allow for a turnaround, “the park would participate in those discussions.”
However, he told Lunt, “The initial review of the site indicated [that] if the town proposed a land exchange to build a turnaround, the development necessary to stabilize and construct such a turnaround on the steep hillside might be cost prohibitive and difficult to permit through regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over the shore land area.”
John Macauley, chairman of the Board of Selectmen and president of the Aid Society of Otter Creek, said at the selectmen’s meeting Monday night that one idea for a land exchange has been rejected. He said the Aid Society owns an 81-by-12-foot “storage lot” off the Park Loop Road near the Otter Cove causeway, and it has been suggested that the Aid Society might be willing to exchange that for turnaround space at the boat landing.
“I think the Aid Society feels pretty strongly that they’re not interested in a land swap,” Macauley said.
As for the likelihood of a turnaround being created, he said, “It’s not going to happen unless something changes.”