New owner of Rockland waterfront house seeks zoning change

By Stephen Betts | Dec 06, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts The new owner of 84 Crescent St. in Rockland has applied for a zoning change.

Rockland — The new owner of a 161-year-old waterfront home has asked the City Council for a zoning change to allow him to renovate the structure. And the City Council agreed to place the proposed change on the agenda for its Monday, Dec. 10, meeting.

In November, Denis Glennon of Franconia, N.H., purchased 84 Crescent St., which had been owned since 1960 by Newty Chambers. She died in May.

Glennon appeared before the City Council at its Wednesday night, Dec. 5, meeting.

Glennon said he plans to have "modest" renovations made to the two-family house, which was built in 1857. But, he said, the current waterfront zoning makes a residence a non-conforming use, which limits any renovations to 50 percent of the existing assessed valuation of the building.

The city has the house assessed at $107,800, meaning renovations could not exceed $53,900.

The current zoning also would prohibit any addition, Glennon said.

The building has significant structural deterioration, which causes it to sag and lean. The amount of work needed will exceed the 50 percent of assessed valuation limit, he said. The 84 Crescent St. property is also the only residence in the Waterfront 1 zone, he said.

"It is not my intention to build a really big house," Glennon said. "My intention is to create a really nice house."

He said he will keep the house as a two-family, which would include an in-law apartment.  He said he plans to add a deck to the rear.He would also build up above the existing garage.

The property abuts Sandy Beach and Harbor Trail.

Glennon said he plans to move in to the home when the work is completed.

At an Aug. 6 City Council meeting, then-Mayor Valli Geiger said the whole neighborhood was abuzz about what might happen with the house.

The Waterfront 1 zone  allows a variety of marine activities, as well as restaurants and educational facilities.

At the Dec. 5 meeitng, Councilor Geiger questioned whether the owner could expand more once the zoning change is approved. Code Enforcement Officer John Root said he could.

Glennon said he does not plan to do more than what he has shown to the city..

"I'm not looking to put up a McMansion," he said.

Geiger said she supported the change, noting that otherwise commercial or industrial uses could locate there.

The neighborhood has seen a flurry of homes being purchased, with major renovations and additions. There are three homes undergoing massive renovations within a few hundred feet of the Chambers house, including two across the street.

Councilor Ed Glaser said he would oppose the change, saying there is not enough working waterfront land in Rockland. "This is another knife in the back of the working waterfront," Glaser said.

Comments (3)
Posted by: johanna stadler | Dec 06, 2018 14:26

gee maybe all the towns should just ignore the laws about shore front.  my house has been in the family since before maine was a state, but I don't get to request a zoning change.  Guess being poor and native means you just smile and take it.


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Dec 06, 2018 08:57

I guess my question would be : " why would someone spend that kind of money on a property not knowing if they would be allowed to restore it " ?  I think the answer might be three reasons:  location, location, location.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Dec 06, 2018 07:33

So what was the council's reaction or did they adjourn to the Alantic Bakery to talk it over?

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