Unpermitted campground trying to correct wrongs

 TREMONTAn application for what has been operating as an illegal campground located on 18 acres within three different land use zones went before the Planning Board on Tuesday. 

Since January, there have been three land use violations served to Madelon Bunny Brogdon, owner of 158 Harbor Drive in Bass Harbor, also known as Pointy Head Campground. Engineer Jeffrey Crafts represented Brogdon and the project at the Planning Board meeting.  

Members of the board unanimously found the application for the 15unit campground to be incomplete for several reasons. It is slated to go on the agenda for the Aug. 4 meeting. Board member Margery Buck recused herself from the process because she is an abutting landowner to the property.  

In January, the first notice of violation was issued to the property for four unpermitted structures, three cabins and a platform. Those cabins, that were allegedly rented out during the 2019 season, were also located in a Commercial Fisheries Maritime Activities zone when the violation was issued.  

“I’ve been told they rented them all last summer and nobody noticed,” Crafts told the Planning Board.  

“We noticed,” said Theodore Kleinman who lives next door to the property and attended the meeting.  

Those three cabins have since been moved out of the CFMA zone and into a Residential-Business zone on the property, but they remain unpermitted.  

“The only way to clear the violations is to come to the Planning Board to clear the violations,” said Crafts. He told the board he had been involved with the property since February, although one of the violations cited Crafts as the representative for the project in January.  

Two more violations have been issued this month, one regarding the platform that remains in the CFMA zone and another addressing a wooden storage rack and gate located on a portion of the property within the Resource Protection zone. Directives from Code Enforcement Officer Jesse Dunbar to correct that latter violation by Aug. 14 include removing the rack and a wooden ramp at the location, as well as removing an Airbnb listing that advertises a tent for camping purposes there. 

A request to grant a permit for the remaining platform was added onto the campground application to correct that violation. Because it is for a use outside the campground and an after-the-fact permit would be issued if approved, the Planning Board asked for a separate site plan. 

“You’re trying to shove a lot at us that’s out of order,” board member Brett Witham said to Crafts. “It feels like there’s so much that’s not complete.” 

Among the items the Planning Board is requesting from Crafts in order to find the application complete are proof of adequate funding for the project, wetland information for the property, direction of surface water flow, proof of adequate water supply, dimensions and elevations of structures and whether exterior lighting is planned. Crafts told the board there is no exterior lighting planned at this time.  

“They’re going to have a parking lot with no lighting and their insurance company is okay with that?” Witham asked. 

Three cabins, 12 tent sites, a parking lot, two service buildings that include showers and bathrooms and a path running the length of the campground are listed on the site plan for the project.  

“This checklist for this project is a starting point to determine completeness,” said attorney Daniel Pileggi to the Planning Board. He represents two neighbors of the project and was referring to the board’s checklist for determining if an application is complete.  

“I want to move forward with this,” he added, “but it’s not complete. In almost every aspect, it’s not complete.” 

Previously, the property at 158 Harbor Drive operated as the Pointy Head Inn with six rooms for rent. Review of the campground application was to go before the Planning Board in June but there was a question of whether it was legal to use the driveway to the campground, which is located in the CFMA zone. After consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, the onus for that decision has been left to 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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