Housing in Mount Desert

Mount Desert 365 will address the long-held need of the Town for increased year-round population by creating options for individuals and families to live affordably, starting in the village of Northeast Harbor. The housing will reflect the character of the community in terms of design and materials, be eco-conscious to provide comfort and use resources economically, and will adhere to the existing land use regulations of the Town. By returning the village population to levels seen in earlier decades, sustained economic diversity and growth will be possible, as well as a sustainable elementary school population.

We have acquired several parcels of largely vacant property in the village of Northeast Harbor, where we plan to create new opportunities for year-round homeownership. These properties are ideal for this purpose, as they are located within the Village Residential One (VR1) land use district, areas deemed “appropriate for intensive residential development” according to the Town’s Land Use Ordinance. We intend to work with the Town of Mount Desert Planning Board to explore appropriate neighborhood design options and to collaborate with the Town and community leaders to develop an aesthetically pleasing plan for these new, modestly-sized homes and lots.

This progress represents an opportunity to begin making a real impact in the supply of year-round housing in Northeast Harbor that is financially attainable for families who live and work on Mount Desert Island. Much work remains to be done to make this goal a reality, including determining the best mechanisms to assure these homes remain affordable and available only to year-round residents. We will continue to identify other suitable locations as we pursue this important objective.

Presently, we have acquired residential properties on Neighborhood Road, Manchester Road, and Summit Road, as indicated on the map above in blue.

In addition to those lots, we have several properties in the Village Commercial (VC) district. These lots will be developed to align with other Main Street properties, with commercial use on the ground floor and residential use above or behind. In these mixed-use buildings, we plan to offer rental apartments on a year-round basis, perhaps with a limited opportunity for condominium ownership for some of them to support equity investment on a smaller scale than a single-family home. These mixed-use lots – shown in orange on the map – are on Main Street and Old Firehouse Lane.

Existing Properties

5 Lookout Way, Northeast Harbor

Mount Desert 365 and Island Housing Trust share a vision for the long-term viability of communities on Mount Desert Island through affordable housing opportunities. A partnership between the two organizations and a local family made a Northeast Harbor property available for purchase with covenants to ensure that the home remains affordable and inhabited year-round by median-income households in the future. 

The home was sold to a local workforce family in June 2021 at a price of $275,000 with affordability covenants and a 99-year lease on the land. Island Housing Trust will manage the land lease, covenants, and long-term relations with the homeowners while Mount Desert 365 will retain ownership of the underlying land. This shared equity model with a long-term land lease is a common, successful practice to reduce the cost of home ownership for medium-income families. 

6 Old Firehouse Lane, Northeast Harbor

Two apartments were constructed in 2020 as part of the Mount Desert 365 and Maine Seacoast Mission office building. Each unit is 985 sq feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The building utilizes environmentally-friendly heat pumps for its electric heat and hot water. 

Mount Desert 365 defined a set of criteria and a screening process to ensure that the units serve to expand Northeast Harbor’s inventory of affordable year-round rental housing and increase the local population.

Both apartments at 6 Old Firehouse Lane are currently filled by local families. If you’d like to be informed of future availabilities, we encourage you to contact our office at community@mountdesert365.org or 207-276-0555

INTERESTED IN FUTURE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES?

If you’d like to be informed about future housing opportunities from Mount Desert 365, we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook. When and if the Old Firehouse Lane units or others become available, details and information will be communicated through our newsletter and Facebook channels to our subscribers and followers.

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