Zoning uncertainty kills purchase of Cap’n Fish project

Posted:  Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 12:15pm
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Boothbay developer Paul Coulombe has regretfully pulled his proposal to purchase the Cap’n Fish motel and restaurant.

Coulombe announced the decision this morning following the select board’s decision to hire yet another independent planner earlier this week, slowing down development on the east side of Boothbay Harbor after a year of hearings.

Coulombe said, “I have invested a half million dollars in non-refundable deposits in the well-known Cap’n Fish motel on the east side of Boothbay Harbor.”

Coulombe’s development company was prepared to invest 30 million dollars in a new hotel, restaurant, and world-class conference center.  Coulombe added, “The inability of some members of the planning board to move the ball forward has stopped this project. I along with many others urge the planning board to rethink what they are doing - it is not in the best interests of Boothbay Harbor or the surrounding communities.   I am urging the planning board to move forward with its recommendations on zoning by sending them to the select board and ultimately to the voters who should decide what they want for their communities.”

Scott Larson from Midcoast Hospitality Group said, “We’ve watched the on-going proceedings and deliberations in the Harbor with interest as we, too, are interested in continuing to develop or restore properties in the region. As we considered where our next project would be, we ultimately made the decision to invest in Edgecomb due to the uncertainty and time taken surrounding the outcome of the zoning in the Harbor. When complete, that project will be a 1.5 million-dollar investment, provide year-round jobs with benefits to an additional 5-10 people and, with the improvements, increase the Edgecomb tax base. We love the Boothbay Harbor region and believe strongly in its future. However, before we would consider taking on any new investment or development in the area, we would need to see closure on the zoning uncertainty. I worry that other investors or prospective business owners watching what’s going on will take their investment dollars or businesses to other towns. That hurts everyone, including the current business owners interested in retiring and/or selling their existing businesses. My hope is that a responsible outcome will happen sooner than later for everyone’s sake. The indecision is the worst part.”

Coulombe added, “The real tragedy around this is the loss of jobs, in the 100s for this project and the additional tax revenue which we estimated would have brought in more than $250,000 annually to the town of Boothbay Harbor at a time when the communities clear need jobs and tax revenue.”