As recent letters and articles in this newspaper have described, a developer is currently seeking permission from the Ellsworth Planning Board to construct a 10-unit, two-story condominium at 10 Parcher St. here in Ellsworth. This structure would be built on a 1.25-acre lot in the very middle of what is now a quiet one-block street of 12 single-family homes.
I am one of the 25 people, nine of them children, who live on Parcher Street. Several families have lived here for decades. We are tax-paying, conscientious citizens, contributing members of the Ellsworth community. All of us highly value the privacy, safety and quiet of our pleasant, well-established neighborhood. We all chose to buy our homes on Parcher Street for those very reasons.
Any Ellsworth homeowner will readily understand our shock when we learned of this outrageous condominium proposal. Occupants of this one structure could easily double the population of our immediate neighborhood, with all the new residents living cheek-by-jowl in one outsized building. Moreover, local Realtors tell us that there is absolutely no market for condos in Ellsworth. The ones the Planning Board approved for construction on Tinker Hill have stood unsold and vacant for years. It’s easy to imagine that the proposed building in the middle of our block would rapidly end up not as a condominium, but as a 10-unit apartment building, one with no garages, no yards, no place for children to play, not even a Dumpster. Nothing could be more incompatible with the Parcher Street neighborhood as it now exists.
But . . . three years ago the city of Ellsworth adopted a change in zoning that affects all in-town homeowners. Although few people realize it, none of our single-family neighborhoods are now zoned residential. Under the new zoning plan, they are all “neighborhood zones.” Incredible as it may seem, in these so-called “neighborhood zones” incompatible uses such the large condominium proposed at 10 Parcher St. are technically legal and in fact are actually encouraged. This means that if the Planning Board approves the proposal to build a large out-of-place condominium on Parcher Street now, no other in-town neighborhood with an acre of open land will be safe from such unsuitable development in the future.
The Ellsworth Planning Board will be discussing this matter, possibly even voting on it, at a public meeting on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall. I urge you to join with Parcher Street residents and other concerned homeowners and attend this important meeting. The matter and the timing are both urgent. Please let your opposition be known before it’s too late.