Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital and one of its neighbors have settled a dispute over an entrance to the Hancock County medical facility, which is currently undergoing a $27 million upgrade.
Neighbors Jane and Samuel Nesbitt reached an agreement with the hospital where, going forward, the Parker Point Road entrance next to the Nesbitts’ home will be designated for emergency use only. The couple appealed local approvals for the hospital’s plans to use the road as a commercial entrance, saying it would have broken a 50-year-old deed restriction.
The August settlement smooths over those objections, which could have delayed the project and forced Northern Light to endure a lengthy appeals process.
“We met with our neighbors to determine the use of the access road, and through those conversations we agreed to use that entry for emergency purposes only,” hospital spokesperson Kelley Columber said Tuesday.
Both the road and a major wing of the hospital are currently under construction and the stretch of pavement was closed off to vehicles this week. The road work is expected to be completed later this fall and will also address drainage complaints the Nesbitts had.
The land the entrance sits on was obtained by the hospital in 1972 and the deed stipulated that there would be no permanent structures, according to the Nesbitts’ original appeal. Instead the hospital was supposed to maintain the land for general residential purposes, the neighbors claimed.
When the Nesbitts bought their home on Parker Point Road in 1983, the hospital road was a dirt track. But it was eventually paved and became a major entry point for the hospital.
In the months since the appeal, a large hospital entrance sign was moved from the area to another access point on Parker Point Road.
The Nesbitts’ attorney declined to comment on the terms of the agreement.
The new hospital is being built on the campus of the existing facility. Construction started in April and is expected to be completed next year. Northern Light says having a new building will help modernize its services and replace the century old hospital.