Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, January 12, 2023
Deer Isle proposes moratorium on growth
Unclear if it would affect proposed campground
by Leslie Landrigan
The town has scheduled a public hearing on Thursday, January 26, at 5 p.m. to consider an emergency growth moratorium, followed by a special town meeting on Thursday, February 2, at 5 p.m., both at the town office.
The proposed moratorium was prompted by a December 21 presentation before the planning board for a campground on 48 acres off Goose Cove Road. Planning Board Chairman Jeremy Stewart the next day urged town officials to take action to stem uncontrolled growth in the town. Stewart has recused himself from reviewing the project because he has worked with an abutter for many years.
Town Manager Jim Fisher said it’s unclear whether a moratorium would apply to the campground.
“The question hinges on whether they have submitted a proposal or not,” Fisher said. A walk-through with the planning board has been scheduled for the week of January 16, he said.
Fox Hollow Partners LLC has submitted to the planning board a drawing that shows nine park model RVs along Crockett Cove and five tent platforms nearer the road. The campground would also include a bathhouse for the tents. It would use the existing farmhouse and barn for operations, seasonal staff housing and food and beverage offerings.
The partnership bought the former cattle farm on August 11, 2022.
“We certainly wouldn’t have bought this property if there was language in any of the ordinances that suggested our project wouldn’t be allowed,” said Addison Godine, one of four Fox Hollow partners, in a phone interview.
Godine, who lives in Rockland, said the partners plan to alter the land as little as possible. They intend to put most of the structures on meadowland already cleared of trees and to keep the existing roads, he said.
“We would love not to cut trees we don’t need to cut,” he said. He pointed out Deer Isle allows for much denser development.
“There are many uses that this land could be used for and we see our proposed use as generally a light footprint,” he said.
According to Section 2.6A of Deer Isle’s subdivision ordinance, “Multi-family, lodging units, and motels/hotels may be constructed and/or installed on parcels of land consisting of the aggregate of one half acre per each individual lodging unit and/or dwelling unit.”
The proposed emergency moratorium would last 180 days and prevent the town from accepting applications for any development or construction of a subdivision. It would also block applications for multiplex or attached dwelling units such as condominiums or apartment buildings.
The select board may vote to extend the moratorium for another 180 days after another public hearing.
The moratorium would expire should the town adopt a new and revised set of land use regulations. However, for that to happen, the town must write and approve a comprehensive plan.
To see the moratorium, visit: docs.google.com/document/d/1nHBjjkVPBL_MrOft4q_Cj0jmt9aIpeBln06y-rA6J1Y/edit.