FOA to purchase Southwest Harbor inn for seasonal housing

Via Mount Desert Island (full story)

The Mount Desert Islander covered the Southwest Harbor Planning Board meeting on February 16, where Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park were seeking planning board approval for a change of use for the Kingsleigh Inn so it can be converted to workforce housing for seasonal employees.

Purchasing the inn is one of several strategies Friends of Acadia is taking in partnership with the National Park Service to expand seasonal workforce housing and address Mount Desert Island’s housing crisis. The goal is to add 130 new beds over the next few years by expanding existing park units, repurposing commercial properties like the Kingsleigh Inn, and constructing new housing units on sites within designated park land.

The planning board discussed the application and decided it did not require a change of use because even though seasonal employees will be staying for a longer period of time, they would be renting rooms at the inn just like tourists did. Sale of the inn is expected to close in mid-March.

“Every person in the United States has a right to visit national parks, but we also want to remove barriers for folks that want to pursue a career here,” Friends of Acadia’s Executive Director Eric Stiles told the paper. “If you’re coming to Acadia National Park, you want to live in or near the park. That’s part of the experience.”

Once purchased, the building will be managed and operated by the park while Friends of Acadia remains its owner. Rent, which Stiles predicts will be in the range of $500 to $600 a month, will be paid to the park, and the building will remain on the tax roll.

Stiles hopes to have the facilities up to date to accommodate some park workers this summer, though it may not be at full capacity.

Read the full story: FOA to purchase Southwest Harbor inn for seasonal housing