Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 28, 2022
Did Deer Isle say no to INH?
Planning board didn’t deny housing permit, chair says
A public comment by an Island Nursing Home board member has created confusion about whether the planning board denied a housing permit to the Island Nursing Home. INH had tried to find affordable housing for its staff before a staffing shortage forced the facility to close in October 2021.
INH Board Vice President Leon Weed told a meeting of the Peninsula League of Towns on July 20 that the town planning board had denied the board a housing permit several months ago. “The planning board shut us down,” he said.
That comment caused a bit of a stir, said Jeremy Stewart, planning board chair, in a phone interview.
The planning board hasn’t met for a year, Stewart said. Nor did the nursing home board ever ask for a housing permit, he said.
“They have made no applications to the planning board,” Stewart said. “There was no meeting, no paperwork, no application.”
Dan Cashman, INH’s spokesman, said in an email that the comment referred to a joint selectmen’s meeting between Stonington and Deer Isle. During the meeting, he said, Town Manager Jim Fisher said INH can’t re-zone its own land to allow them to build housing on its available land until after the town completes its comprehensive plan.
“INH is currently zoned as a multi-family building and maxed out with our acre size,” Cashman said. “INH owns more land but cannot use it due to the way they are currently zoned.”
Stewart, however, said the INH land is wet and septic issues would have to be taken into consideration.