The commercial property in Eastport located at the corner of Old County Road and Route 190 where the former Irving gas station and convenience store was located has been sold to Stillridge LLC of Hermon. Tom Ellis, owner of Stillridge and Ellis Commercial Management, met in July with Eastport Code Enforcement Officer Robert Scott and the planning board to discuss his development plans for the property. With him at the planning board meeting was Oscar Emerson of Down to Earth Professional Land Services of Bangor.
If all goes according to plan, an 80'x100' building will go up on the site. Ellis says that "all the financing and leases are in place" for a Family Dollar Store to go into that location. They hope to have the building constructed well before the holiday season.
However, the developers had an unexpected encounter with the Eastport Zoning Ordinance, which currently requires one parking space per 100 square feet of building space and would require the store site to have about 80 parking spaces. Ellis says that this would go well beyond the ability of the site in question to hold. He explained that 22 parking spaces is more in line with what other communities require, and he has gathered parking ordinance information for the planning board to use as they research a proposed change to the city's ordinance. Along with providing too many parking spots, all that pavement, Ellis says, "is not good for the environment because you have all this impervious pavement" that creates excessive run‑off.
His primary concern with the delays necessitated by the public hearings associated with changing the zoning ordinance is the weather. "What we don't want to happen is to have building delayed until the cold weather sets in."
"If the permit was issued today, we'd be ready to go," Ellis adds.
As for why he chose Eastport, Ellis explains, "We look at smaller communities, especially coastal, that lack this type of store." He adds that Family Dollar offers a wide range of household goods, from simple articles of clothing to housewares. "It offers a lot to small communities that couldn't support a full‑size store."
Family Dollar also is planning on opening a store in Lubec next spring, according to Bryn Winburn, public relations manager. The company currently has stores in Calais and Machias.