SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — Concerns about a proposal from a local developer to construct 40 houses off Main Street has prompted a group of residents to float the idea of a development moratorium.

On Oct. 22, the planning board approved a proposal from Jeff Crafts to build 40 homes at Village at Ocean’s End. But some residents and officials are concerned that Crafts’ interpretation of what meets the town’s multiunit housing standard could create higher housing density levels than what the town intended when it crafted the zoning language. Crafts intends to connect pairs of homes in the development with underground, concrete utility tunnels so that together two dwellings can be counted as one unit.

Residents, municipal officials and attorneys discussed the issue of a possible development moratorium for a good part of the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night. For more than two hours, residents, selectmen, the town’s attorneys, Crafts and his attorney talked about what kind of moratorium language would be appropriate, if any, and whether Crafts would have grounds for a legal challenge if it affected his project.

Skip Wilson, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Wednesday that the board decided to put the moratorium question out to a town vote. He said a date for the vote has not been set but that selectmen are expected to discuss possible special town meeting dates when they meet again on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The board likely will discuss a possible residents petition to change the town’s definition of multiunit housing at their next meeting, he said.


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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....