2015-07-31 / Front Page

Not so overjoyed about overflow parking

By Duke Harrington Staff Writer


This site, once slated for an 80-room boutique hotel, is once again causing concern for neighbors, drawing complaints recently not only at meetings of the Kennebunk Board of Selectmen, but across the river at meetings of the Kennebunkport selectmen as well. On Friday, July 24, the town sent a notice of violation to the new property owner, Fred Forsley of Shipyard Brewing Co., ordering a stop to parking on the lawn of this private residence at 2 Doane’s Wharf, allegedly used as overflow for valet parking at the adjacent Federal Jack’s Restaurant & Brew Pub, also owned by Forsley. (Duke Harrington photo) This site, once slated for an 80-room boutique hotel, is once again causing concern for neighbors, drawing complaints recently not only at meetings of the Kennebunk Board of Selectmen, but across the river at meetings of the Kennebunkport selectmen as well. On Friday, July 24, the town sent a notice of violation to the new property owner, Fred Forsley of Shipyard Brewing Co., ordering a stop to parking on the lawn of this private residence at 2 Doane’s Wharf, allegedly used as overflow for valet parking at the adjacent Federal Jack’s Restaurant & Brew Pub, also owned by Forsley. (Duke Harrington photo) KENNEBUNK — A site on the shores of the Kennebunk River that got a thumbs down from abutters last year when an 80-unit “boutique hotel” was proposed has neighbors once again turning up their noses.

This time, the concern is not what might be built on the site at 2 Doane’s Wharf Road, known historically to locals as Reid’s Boat Yard, but what’s being parked there.

After Portland hotelier David Bateman pulled out, Teresa Cain sold the property June 15 to BR2 LLC, reportedly a holding company for Fred Forsley, owner of Shipyard Brewing Company and, where Kennebunk is concerned, the Shipyard

Shops row of stores that culminates in Federal Jack’s restaurant. Since then, the Reid property, which includes both a marina and a private residence, has reportedly been used as parking for employees and customers of Federal Jack’s.

According to Chris Osterrieder, Kennebunk’s director of community development, planning and codes, the home is allowed two parking spaces. It also carries a zoning waiver for an additional 28 spots for use by the marina. However, those spots are not supposed to be taken up by other commercial uses, a fact the neighbors were hip to.

“We started getting pictures right away,” Osterrieder said Monday.

At the July 16 selectmen’s meeting, they were lined up to sound off during the “public comment” session.

“How does one get a waiver on a waiver,” asked Village resident Robert Lyons.

According to Osterrieder, there is no such thing and, on Friday, July 24, Forsley was sent a notice of violation. A compliance inspection was scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, after the deadline for this week’s Post, Osterrieder said.

“We told him he had to cease doing anything over there that’s not marina-related,” Osterrieder said. “Anything other than that, they’re going to have a problem.”

Attempts to reach Forsley were unsuccessful.

According to Osterrieder, the town was arguably slow to act because Forsley said he intended to get the marina up and running again.

“He gave us a letter saying he’s entered into an agreement with Chris DiMillo to operate it as a marina,” Osterrieder said. “So, if there’s some boats in there and it looks like it’s being run like a marina, we have a lot of other things to do.”

However, Osterrieder said, it became clear over time that the parking was probably not all attributable to boat owners.

“It’s unlikely that many boats would be out after midnight,” he said. “So, not everything was adding up.”

Although the town has now sprung into action, some remain dubious.

“Lower Village residents learned long ago never to relax our watchfulness, as we have witnessed small exceptions and waivers become large developments,” Lyons said. “The question remains, is another Trojan horse on the loose in Lower Village?”

Lyons suggested the easiest solution would be for the town to issue parking permits for users of the marina.

“You need to address this parking issue. It’s a big one,” Beach Street resident Bjorn Lindgred told selectmen at their July 16 meeting. “There are a hundred of us there that are concerned and we will voice our opinion.”

“It’s clear our area residents want to protect our size and quality of life and what makes Lower Village so special,” said Brown Street resident Greg Burke, who is building a home on Doane’s Wharf Road. “Times are definitely changing. Kennebunk is growing. We can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but I know I’m not alone when I say we don’t need to encourage development just for the sake of development.”

Meanwhile, Kennebunk selectmen are not the only ones getting an earful about vehicles at Reid’s landing. Across the river in Kennebunkport, selectmen also have been appraised of the situation. At the board’s July 23 meeting, David James, spokesman for the Kennebunkport Residents Association, said members of his group have prompted him to address the issue.

“They’ve done a lot of things that have a lot of people upset down there,” he said of Federal Jack’s use of Reid’s Landing. “They’re having employees getting off at night and having parties there, being exuberant with screaming and lot of noise.”

However, James thinks he has a solution, given that Kennebunkport Village also suffers from a surfeit of cars versus parking spots.

“There are some people that are saying that maybe it’s time that Kennebunk and Kennebunkport get together and consider some kind of cooperative comprehensive plan that would involve Dock Square and Lower Village,” he said. “Nobody can deny that parking is the biggest issue that we have. It might make sense to try and address this issue from a coordinated approach.”

Whatever happens next, Osterrieder said there’s certain to be keen interest on both sides of the river, whether the two towns cooperate on resolving the shortage of parking spaces in the area or not. Following issuance of the violation notice, Osterrieder said Forsley could take the case to Kennebunk’s zoning board of appeals. Meanwhile, there’s the possibility that DiMillo could come forward with plans for the marina, which could well involve the Reid’s Landing spots.

“I’m sure that will bring complaints that that private dirt road is too small for any increase in activity,” Osterrieder said. “There’s no gate, but it’s like a gated community down there. People there are very protective of their neighborhood. With any talk of the parking there, things are bound to get complicated. As far as things go, at this point, I suspect the pin has been pulled out of this grenade.”

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