Rental Case Is Thrown Back

BAR HARBOR — The owner of a $2 million mansion who sued the town to rent her house by the week has found some relief in court.


Hancock County Superior Court Justice Kevin Cuddy ruled on Feb. 12 that the town was wrong to deny Karol Foss a weekly rental permit for her Harbor Lane mansion. Justice Cuddy sent the case back to the board of appeals here for a new review.

Ms. Foss was denied a permit in February 2009 because the house, which she had just bought, is not her primary residence. In the shoreland zoning district where the mansion is located, code enforcement officer Angela Chamberlain said, only primary homeowners are allowed to rent by the week.

When Ms. Foss applied for a permit, she was told that changing the ownership from primary to secondary amounted to a change of use, one which made the property non-conforming to the land use ordinance. By the terms of the ordinance, Ms. Chamberlain said, weekly rentals would be allowed to continue at the property only if it had been registered initially as non-homestead exempt when the weekly rental ordinance became law in 2006.

The decision was upheld by the board of appeals in April 2009. However, Ms. Foss was able to continue renting Anchorhold by the week during the 2009 tourist season by a temporary injunction issued by Justice Cuddy. During peak season, the house rents for $8,500 per week, according to a Davis Agency website.

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