Bean applies for Wyeth reading room in Port ClydePublic on-site review scheduled for March 4
Port Clyde — Linda Bean has submitted her application to build a Wyeth center at 20 Horse Point Road.
The Planning Board took up the application at the Feb. 14 meeting, attended by a handful of residents. No decisions were made on the application’s status, but the board scheduled a public on-site information meeting for March 4 at 9 a.m.
Some residents have expressed opposition to the plan, saying the area is a poor fit for such a facility.
The plan was first brought to the board in December last year when Bean submitted a “pre-application” for the project. Few changes were made to the plan, and Camden architect Stephen Smith confirmed that Bean did not plan for any retail operations at the site.
Smith had initially mentioned the sale of Wyeth prints or other items as part of the plan when the Planning Board first reviewed the pre-application Dec. 13, but Bean said in an interview the following day that no retail operations would be part of the center.
“That’s a concession she’s made in order to try to keep the traffic and the use of this building to a minimum,” Smith told the Planning Board.
Another change comes in the name for the proposed center. Where the pre-application had billed it as the “Wyeth Orientation Center,” the current application has the center named the “Wyeth Reading Room.”
Smith and Ronald L. Crusan, who runs Bean’s Port Clyde Wyeth Gallery, characterized the planned reading room as a summer destination for Wyeth connoisseurs and researchers, rather than a highly trafficked tourist destination.
“The Wyeths have a very important place in American art,” Crusan said. “And so what our aim is to establish them as summer residents of Port Clyde, and to establish Port Clyde as an important center for Wyeth study.”
Crusan said the reading room would make Wyeth-related magazines and books available to the public for free, and would feature wall panels with historical information. One or two employees would work there.
Smith said neighbors and Bean had discussed the issue of parking space on the 12,000-square-foot lot. Crusan said another property of Bean’s on Co-op Road could provide the reading room’s primary parking area, with staff, disabled and elderly parking on the actual site.
Planning Board members raised questions about the potential volume of visitors, traffic and whether there was enough space for parking provided in the plan. Crusan offered another Bean property, on Culver Road, as a potential backup parking area should the reading room become a popular attraction.
In an email, Port Clyde resident Larry Bailey said he and a group he called Horse Point Road Concerned Citizens had sent a letter to the town in January expressing their opposition to the plan. The letter lists 74 residents it said had signed on to oppose the plan. Town Manager Tim Polky confirmed that the town had received the letter.
Bailey said he and other Horse Point Road residents oppose the idea, arguing it will increase traffic on a narrow, winding road that he said already suffers from summer congestion.
Reporter Dan Otis Smith can be reached at 594-4401 x123 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.