Camden considers American Boathouse rehabilitation plans, repairs to ski trail at Ragged Mountain

Posted:  Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 8:15am
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CAMDEN — The Select Board in Camden this evening, June 19, will consider a host of reappointments, including the town harbor master and town manager, as well as funding for a Snow Bowl Maintenance Project to fix a trail that has eroded, and will review of the American Boathouse rehabilitation plans for 17 Atlantic Ave., at the head of Camden Harbor.

The meeting will take place in the Washington Street Meeting Room beginning at 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Time Warner Channel 1303 and streamed attownhallstreams.com/locations/camden-me

The old boathouse at the head of the harbor is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Cynthia Reed Revocable Trust purchased the boathouse in 2017 and the town voted in November to change zoning in order for the boathouse to be converted to residential use.

The Select Board will hear tonight the plans for the rehabilitation and conversion of the historic property. To read the complete the plans, see the Select Board packet here.

The purpose of the Select Board review is to “confirm that the proposed project complies with terms of the Development Agreement that is in place for the restoration of the American Boathouse,” the submission letter, from landscape designer Stephen B. Mohr, who is based in Portland. “Cynthia and John Reed have purchased the Boathouse property and the adjoining lot to the east on Atlantic Avenue in Camden, and they are moving forward with the plan to rehabilitate the Boathouse to use it as a guesthouse and boathouse.”

History of the American Boathouse

The American Boathouse sits adjacent to Camden Harbor Park, and diagonally across the street from the Camden Public Library and Amphitheatre, both of which are also on the Historic Register. The Register is the federal government's list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects considered worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Register represent’s the country’s effort “to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources,” the National Park Service says, in its program description.

The Boathouse, according to its listing on the National Register, was built in 1904 to accommodate the 130-foot steam yacht Maunaloa, owned by Chauncey Borland, a summer resident of Camden and one of the founders of the Camden Yacht Club, formed in 1906.

The Register listed the Boathouse in 1981 after Maine Historian Earl Shettleworth lent his signature to the designation. The documents supporting the shed’s including on the Register said the long shingled structure, which extends from Atlantic Ave. to the shoreline, is “one of the oldest if not the oldest recreational boathouses in Maine and possibly the country.”

It evokes, the document said: “images of Maine as a playground of the very rich at the turn of the century — an era of massive yachts and opulence and ostentation. This picturesque structure, more recently used for commercial purposes, is a landmark on the shore of Camden harbor and vividly recalls an era now departed.”

But even that commercial use evaporated approximately  a decade ago when the yacht broker company Cannell Payne and Page shuttered its doors there. It is currently owned by the Cannell Boatbuilding Company and assessed by the town at $890,000.

The Boathouse and the .2-acre parcel was on the market last year for $2.4 million. Immediately adjacent to the Boathouse — within a few feet — is another old boathouse, which was owned by Lyman Morse and subsequently purchased by the Reeds. The two old structures fill in a formerly industrial end of Camden Harbor, where large oceangoing vessels were once constructed.

According to the 1981 Register listing:” The one-story boathouse is of frame construction with a gable roof and shingle siding. It is oriented on a north-south axis, with the south end on the harbor fitted with a large doorway. The long sides of the building contain 10 bays, each being 6/6 sash. At the northern end of the structure is a one-story, hipped roof office of later date with doorways facing north and west. Fenestration here is 8/2. The office extends westerly from the west wall of the boathouse giving the full structure an attenuated L-shaped plan.”

Last March, the Reeds, of Duxbury, Mass., purchased 10 Dillingham Point, which at that time was home to an old summer cottage known as Arequipa. They demolished the cottage with intentions of constructing a new year-round home there. 

They also secured property on Bay View Street, where they are constructing a guest house for family and friends.

Mohr wrote: “We have worked closely with the Reeds and the project team to develop the rehabilitation plans so that the Boathouse can remain on the National Register and comply with the requirements of the Development Agreement. The building size, ridgelines, roof forms, foundation, fenestration, and exterior details will be faithfully restored or reconstructed. No external changes are proposed on the Atlantic Avenue face of the building and on the harbor side the Boathshed doors are being reconstructed to match the 1904 boat doors. Changes to the building’s west façade have been limited to a small change on the Headhouse for egress because we understand for the past century that has been an important public view of the Boathouse. 

“....As can be seen in the attached plans, the structure includes an eighty-two-foot-long boat basin, a great room and mechanical space on the lower level, and one-bedroom guest quarters with bath, kitchen and sitting/dinning space at the Atlantic Avenue floor level. The proposed plan has the boat basin at 40.2% of the building volume, which complies with Sections 2 and 10 of the Development Agreement.

“The Army Corps of Engineers and Maine DEP permits required for the Boathouse project are in place. The only remaining permit to be issued is the Maine DEP NRPA permit for the proposed granite seawall on the adjoining lot to the east. We anticipate receipt of that permit in late June or early July.

“We believe that the proposed changes do not alter the historic character defining features of the Boathouse, and comply with the terms of the Development Agreement. We have worked closely with the staff at the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to determine the acceptability of these proposed alterations and the construction plan so that the building will remain on the National Register after it is reconstructed....”

The full Select Board agenda follows:

Agenda

  1. Public Input on non-agenda items
  2. Establishment of the Rules of Order to be followed at Select Board Meetings
  3. Approval of Board Minutes from June 5, 2018
  4. Consideration of new victualer license for JM Chen, d/b/a Camden Island at 87 Elm Street, Suite 106A
  5. Request to approve the following Victualer’s License renewals: Bagel Café, Birchwood Motel,Blackberry Inn, Blue Harbor House, Camden Deli, Camden Riverhouse Hotel, Drouthy Bear, Hawthorn Inn, High Tide Inn, Subway and Quarry Hill.
  6. Request to approve the following Lodging Establishment License renewals: Beloin’s Motel, BirchwoodMotel, Blackberry Inn, Blue Harbor House, Camden Riverhouse Hotel, Hawthorn Inn, and High Tide Inn.
  7. Public Hearings for the following liquor license applications:
    1. a)  Martin & Catherin Hobson, d/b/a Blackberry Inn at 82 Elm Street for a Class V Bed & Breakfast Liquor License
    2. b)  Quarterdeck, Inc., d/b/a Cuzzy’s at 21 Bay View Street for a Class XI Restaurant/Lounge Liquor License
    3. c)  Quarterdeck, Inc. d/b/a Cuzzy’s at 21 Bay View Street for Special Amusement Permit
    4. d)  Northwinds, Inc., d/b/a Waterfront Restaurant at 44 Bay View Street for a Special Amusement Permit
  8. Approval of Development Agreement Submission for the American Boathouse Rehabilitation at 17 Atlantic Avenue
  9. Request to authorize funding for Snow Bowl Maintenance Project
  10. Request by Camden Rotary Club to close Atlantic Avenue on July 4th for “Music by the Sea” from 1:00p.m. through the fireworks.
  11. Request by Camden Public Library to close Atlantic Avenue Friday, July 13th at 8 am through Sunday, July 15th at 8pm for the Harbor Arts & Books
  12. Request to use the Village Green on July 9th (rain date July 16th) by Chestnut Street Baptist Church for a Camden Community Breakfast
  13. Consideration of request from Camden Rockport Pathways for a dedication of the next Riverwalk section
  14. Presentation on Short Term Rentals
  1. Discussion on Windjammer and Daysailer License Agreements and the Harbor and Waterways Ordinance
  2. Reappointment of the Town Manager pursuant to Article II, Section 5 of the Town Charter.
  3. Reappointment of the Road Commissioner pursuant to Title 23 M.R.S. Section 2701
  4. Reappointment of the Harbormaster pursuant to the Harbor & Waterways Ordinance, Article III, Section 3.
  5. Confirmation of the Town Manager's appointments of the Treasurer, Tax Collector, and the Town Clerk and Department Heads pursuant to Article III of the Town Charter.
  6. Reappointment of the Health Officer duties pursuant to M.R.S.A. §451

AS WASTEWATER COMMISSIONERS

  1. Establishment of the Rules of Order to be followed at Wastewater Commissioner Meetings.
  2. Appointment of Chief Executive and Administrative Official of the Wastewater Department, and of the Superintendent of the Wastewater Department, Pursuant to Article V, Section 7 of the Town Charter.
  3. Approval of authorization to spend up to $5,000 on sediment testing for Montgomery Dam Feasibility Study