Selectmen voted unanimously Sept. 2 to begin negotiating the potential purchase of a $1.1 million Port Clyde property for commercial and recreational use.

The board also voted to spend $3,000 to have the property independently appraised.

"It is a terrific opportunity to explore," Selectman Richard Bates said after the vote was taken.

The property at 10 Cold Storage Road, totals 0.65 acres and abuts the town landing. The land is currently rented by Mosquito Island Lobster Company.

The business is also in talks with potential partners to purchase the land from owner Konrad Ulbrich and continue its operation, said Dan Murdock, who owns the business with two other people.

Murdock said the town's interest in the property has made it more difficult for his business to negotiate a deal on the shorefront land, which includes two working docks and a building.

"Docks are being bought up, and commercial wharfs are disappearing," he said, adding the business employs local fisherman and is a good fit for the town.

Depending on the time of year, 8 to 11 fisherman sell lobsters to the business. Murdock said a seaweed harvester also moves his product from their dock.

Bates said the board is interested in what is best for the town, adding that business is important to the area and the board does not want to jeopardize that.

Coastal Waters Management Board Member Michael Cushman informed the select board of pros and cons to purchasing the property.

The board, consisting of five members, previously voted to recommend the town consider purchasing the land.

Cushman said the property provides deep water access and is conveniently positioned as it is adjacent the public wharf. Additional parking, a second boat launch, and rental opportunities could exist if the town decided to buy the land. St. George could also consider operating a pump station at the site, which would attract tourists who are sailing up the coast.

The con, Cushman said, is the extensive work the pier needs.

Murdoch said Prock Marine estimated repairs to the concrete pier could be $350,000. Repairs needed include new steel and pilings. Murdoch said the pier is sinking.

Despite the need for work, lobsterman and board member Gerry Cushman said there is a lot of leeway with dock work, contending the estimate could be less than initially figured once the work is finished.

"Properties like this are not available often," Cushman said.

Courier Publication's reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at