BAR HARBOR, Maine — After repeated attempts over the past six years to get approval to subdivide land he owns along Route 3, developer Bob Bond is throwing in the towel.
In a brief, two-sentence letter sent Aug. 2 to Bar Harbor Code Enforcement Officer Angela Chamberlain, Bond’s attorney said his company, Tranquility Bond LLC, was withdrawing its development application.
Contacted by phone on Friday, Bond confirmed that he and his business partner, Frank Moya, are selling the 24-acre parcel. He declined to say how much they have spent over the past six years on engineering, design and legal fees, but said they have decided it is time to move on and to recover what they can. He said that at this point, he and Moya expect to lose some money on the investment.
“We just reached the end of the road as far as what makes sense financially,” Bond said. “We decided to withdraw our proposal and to put it on the market as one large parcel.”
The property is listed for sale by Lynam Real Estate for $450,000. The price includes “all development rights” and “all site design and engineering work completed to date for seven lots,” according to the listing.
Greg Moore, who lives in the Eden Woods subdivision, next to Bond’s property, has been a persistent and vocal opponent of Bond’s efforts. In 2010, he appealed the town’s approval of an early version of Bond’s proposal to Hancock County Superior Court and won. Despite multiple revisions by Bond since then, Moore has continued to challenge the proposal.
In April, when the town’s appeals board met to consider Moore’s latest appeal of Bond’s project, he argued that it did not meet the town’s fire protection, road construction and wetland impact standards. Bond’s proposal had been remanded by the appeals board to the planning board for reconsideration when the application was withdrawn.
In addition to opposing Bond’s proposals, Moore has urged town officials to fix what he says are substandard conditions in Eden Woods. Seabury Drive, where Moore lives, does not meet road construction standards, he has argued, and the fire pond off Seabury Drive that had been designated as a water source in the event of a fire is insufficient. Bond’s proposal would have connected to Seabury Drive.
In 2009, Moore took the town all the way to the state supreme court for failing to address these issues but lost.
When contacted about Bond’s decision to withdraw the proposal, Moore wrote Thursday in an email that the town’s attorney issued an opinion in 2005 that support’s Moore’s position that Seabury Drive remains substandard. He said town officials are to blame for the problems Bond faced in trying to make sure his proposal met all of the town’s development standards.
“The rubber-stamp approvals of the previous planning director and planning boards could not withstand the scrutiny of the appeals board and Superior Court because of egregious violations of the land use ordinance,” Moore wrote. “Bond wasted $500,000 because he was misled by town officials and incompetent representatives.”
Bond said that Moore’s opposition has been a “catalyst” for much of the costs the project has incurred. He described Moore as “a determined person” but declined to comment about him further.
Bond said the situation helps to explain why properties on Mount Desert Island usually fetch a premium price.
“This type of scenario certainly adds to why land is so expensive on [MDI],” he said.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.