December 3, 2018

Bar Harbor's deal for former CAT terminal rescheduled

Photo / Peter Van Allen
Photo / Peter Van Allen
The former Bay Ferries Ltd. terminal is under consideration by the town of Bar Harbor for purchase and use as a cruise ship terminal.

A plan for the state to sell the former CAT ferry terminal to the town of Bar Harbor has been delayed by the LePage administration.

Bar Harbor Town Manager Cornell Knight reported to the council that Gov. Paul LePage, who leaves office in January, has refused to sign a deed conveyance on the former CAT ferry terminal site on Eden Street unless new language is added.

The deed is part of the purchase and sale agreement between the town and the Maine Department of Transportation. The town earlier this year agreed to purchase the site from the state for $3.5 million.

In November, the governor's office asked for new language regarding the conveyance, Knight said.

The language currently refers to "any subsequent use of improvement to or construction on the premises is subject to local laws, regulations, and permitting requirements," Knight said. The additional language would be, "including municipal zoning requirements in effect on the date of the this conveyance."

"Our attorney isn't sure why that is needed, because municipal zoning requirements are part of an ordinance and 'ordinance' is mentioned," he said.

The amendment also extends the closing date. The sale was expected to close on Nov. 30. The new closing date would be on or before Jan. 31, 2019, he said. Knight said he has signed the extension.

"The only question is, does it make it more difficult for Bay Ferries, because they're counting on the town owning the property and they're making an investment before they're signing a lease with us," said Friedmann. "But I see no other choice."

In October, the council voted to authorize a five-year lease agreement with Atlantic Fleet Services Corp., allowing it to contract with Bay Ferries Ltd. to reinstitute high-speed ferry service between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The vote also allows the Prince Edward Island company to start site work.

The town and the Maine Department of Transportation were originally scheduled to close on the purchase of the property on Nov. 30.


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