Housing in Mount Desert
In keeping with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, Mount Desert 365 will address the long-held need for an 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 closer to levels seen in earlier decades, sustained economic diversity and growth will be possible, as well as a sustainable elementary school population. In the map to the right, the areas in blue are properties around the village of Northeast Harbor that we own and have either already developed or plan to develop for year-round housing and/or commercial space. Click to enlarge the photo.
The proposed Heel Way Subdivision is a residential project consisting of six dwelling units, developed in keeping with the existing Town Subdivision and Land Use Zoning Ordinances and applying Workforce Housing criteria for density. The site is presently developed with one single-family home. This project will add two two-family dwellings and one new single-family home to create a total of six individual residences in four structures. An existing five-bay garage structure will be renovated and used for additional storage space by future residents.
The Heel Way Subdivision is being developed to provide homeownership opportunities that will remain affordable to median-income year-round residents in perpetuity. There will be eligibility criteria for prospective homeowners with income caps tied to state median income levels, and requirements that any future sale of the properties be made only to other such eligible households.
The project area has a current street address of 5 Manchester Road. It is Tax Map 23, Lot 25 which is a 0.90-acre parcel, including a 0.11-acre area designated as a right-of-way for others, including private sewer pipes underground and use as a driveway by the abutting property owners. The site has access to municipal water and sewer services and frontage on both Manchester Road and Neighborhood Road. Future development will provide vehicle access to the site exclusively via a single 16-foot-wide driveway entrance from Neighborhood Road, with a proposed name of Heel Way. Landscaping and other site improvements will help buffer the development from neighboring properties and enhance the common spaces for future residents. The project will be served by public sewer and public water with plans to install all power and communication lines underground.
Plans for this development conform with all local, state, and federal ordinances, statutes, laws, and regulations. As a legal condominium structure, future individual homeowners will share ownership of, and responsibility for the land, with common areas outside the boundaries of individual homes to be managed by an association of all homeowners.
Mount Desert 365 owns four properties in the Village Commercial (VC) district on Main Street in Northeast Harbor. 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 will offer rental apartments on a year-round basis, perhaps with a limited opportunity for condominium ownership for some to support equity investment on a smaller scale than a single-family home.
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 year-round 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 homeownership for medium-income families.
Two apartments were constructed in 2020 as part of the building at 6 Old Firehouse Lane. 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.
Both apartments at 6 Old Firehouse Lane are currently filled by local families with parents working in the school system and Acadia National Park.