Flags fly outside the Tremont town office in this 2019 file photo. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

More than a year after a large “glamping” campground proposal polarized local residents, Tremont voters are set next week to consider new rules for recreational lodging development.

The possible changes to the town’s land use zoning ordinance would limit campgrounds to a maximum of 45 sites of no more than 10,000 square feet each and would require 75-foot setback from abutting properties. 

Currently, the town requires 5,000 square feet per site, a setback of 50 feet, and has no limit on the number of sites.

Voters will cast ballots on the proposal throughout the day on Monday at Tremont’s town office at the intersection of routes 102 and 102A.

The proposed ordinance amendments were developed after controversy arose surrounding plans to develop a glamping property near Goose Cove. Acadia Wilderness Lodge had sought to develop 154 sites total at property at the intersection of Route 102 near Kelleytown Road. Of those sites, 72 were to be for recreational vehicles, 42 for cabins and 40 for canvas tent platforms.

Later, the scope of the proposal was scaled back to 54 sites total — 18 yurts, rather than cabins, and 36 canvas tent platforms, according to Tremont Town Manager Jesse Dunbar. The RV sites were removed from the proposal. It was approved by the planning board in November. 

“It’s essentially a glampground,” Dunbar said. 

Acadia Wilderness Lodge hit a roadblock Thursday night, however, when the town’s appeals board vacated the approval, Dunbar said.

The appeals board determined the planning board erred by not including an adjacent site where the lodge has approval to erect eight yurts — separate from the 18 yurts in the 54-site proposal — in its review of the overall campground project, he said. It was also decided that newer standards for setbacks and site requirements that the town adopted as the lodge was scaling back its proposal should have been used.

The lodge owners have indicated they intend to take the matter to court, Dunbar said.

Whatever the outcome of the lodge’s development proposal, there are residents who remain concerned about the potential impact from other campground development proposals that may arise. Last year, voters approved a 6-month moratorium on campground development, but it was not extended when the moratorium expired in January.

A group called Concerned Tremont Residents — the same group that appealed the planning board approval — wanted even bigger limitations for future campground developments. The group called for a minimum of 20,000 square feet per campsite, a property-line setback of 100 feet, and a maximum of 20 sites. However, the town rejected the petition because officials feared it would be confusing and counterproductive to have two competing sets of restrictions voted on next week, Dunbar said.

“They were extremely similar,” Dunbar said of the two proposals.

The town does already have another glamping campground that has been proposed for Harbor Drive in Bass Harbor, but it will be held to the town’s current standards, even if voters adopt the tighter restrictions next week, he said.

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....