Owls Head to discuss changing town zones to use lighthouse as museum

Posted Feb. 20, 2013, at 12:21 p.m.

OWLS HEAD, Maine — A zone change to allow the keeper’s house at the Owls Head Lighthouse to be used as an education center will be considered by residents when they gather March 4 for a special town meeting.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Owls Head Community Building.

The American Lighthouse Foundation has an agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard for leasing the keeper’s house. But current zoning laws do not allow a museum.

Town officials have worked with the American Lighthouse Foundation to develop two ordinance amendments that would allow the property to be used as a museum. Those shoreland zoning ordinances are up for a vote at the March 4 meeting.

The Foundation plans to have the keeper’s house open for tours in April. Foundation Executive Director Bob Trapani Jr. has pointed out that when visitors come to the lighthouse the first question they ask is whether they can tour the house.

Also on the town warrant will be an article on whether residents want to spend up to $15,000 more to pay for legal fees related to the town’s defense of a lawsuit over the status of Coopers Beach Road.

Residents approved $50,000 at a special town meeting in December 2011 to set aside $50,000 to defend the lawsuit brought by two property owners who are trying to overturn the town’s easement on the road that leads to the waterfront.

Selectmen had recommended in 2011 that the money be appropriated to protect the town’s access to the shore and to prevent a proliferation of similar lawsuits by people who buy properties along the shore.

Town residents also will be asked during the special town meeting whether they want to accept Freedom Drive as a town road.