Future of derelict building debated

By Becky Pritchard

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BAR HARBOR — A historic Cottage Street property built in 1910 may have to come down. A letter from concerned citizens was sent to the Bar Harbor Town Council, which is set to consider asking the owner to demolish the vacant building.

The building is owned by the Pelletier family, doing business as St. Sauveur Development Corporation. The building is on the market, with the vacant lot next door, for a combined price of $995,000 as a commercial property.

There is no known buyer at this time, but Acadia Cornerstone Realty does showings of the property.

Even though the building is derelict, the property is worth more with the building than without it. That’s because the two-story building predates current ordinances that prohibit buildings of that height so close to the property line.

If it were built today, the two-story structure would have to be pushed back 20 feet from the sidewalk. But a buyer who chose to tear down the building and build a new one within a year would be “grandfathered” from such restrictions, making the most of the space.

With no immediate sale or renovations planned, some are worried about the building’s safety.

Design review board member Peter Bono asked at the board’s June 14 meeting whether the board should ask the owners to take the building down, considering it a threat to public safety.

With its proximity to the sidewalk, the aging building could fall and injure someone or damage a car, Bono said. He pointed to the example of the adjacent property also owned by the Pelletiers, a former auto garage that had to be demolished after the roof caved in from snow in 2013.

Bono drafted a letter to the Pelletier family, asking them to consider taking it down for that reason. He wrote the letter after consulting with planning director Janna Richards and code enforcement officer Angie Chamberlain.

Richards advised the board they could not send the letter to the family directly, but that they could send it to the town council for consideration.

They reached a decision to send the letter, not as a board but as concerned individuals.

The town council will decide what, if any future course of action will be taken when the letter comes up as an agenda item at a future meeting. Any action would be done according to a state statute that regulates dangerous buildings, and would involve a public hearing, according to Richards.


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