Estes Lobster House in 2022. Harpswell Town Planner Mark Eyerman expects the owner of the shuttered restaurant to file another application to redevelop the site for residential use following a failed attempt in 2022. (J.W. Oliver photo)

Question: What’s going to happen with the closed Estes (Lobster House) restaurant property? A new restaurant? Condos? Public dock? Commercial fishing? Any information is appreciated.

Judy Marino, Orr’s Island

Answer: According to Harpswell Town Planner Mark Eyerman, there are no definite plans in place for the former restaurant at 1906 Harpswell Neck Road, but the owner has been in talks with town officials about potentially redeveloping the site for residential use.

In August 2022, the Harpswell Board of Appeals voted 5-0 to deny an application filed by building owner Larry Crooker for an “undue hardship variance” that would have allowed him to transform the shuttered South Harpswell restaurant into two condominiums with four to five bedrooms each.

Since then, Crooker and his attorney, David Goldman, of the Portland law firm Norman Hanson DeTroy, have been in discussions with town officials to determine the best path forward, Eyerman said.

“I met with Mr. Crooker and his attorney a while ago to discuss the uses that could be made of the building and lot, and what requirements and approvals would be needed under various scenarios,” the town planner said. “That discussion focused on reusing the property for a residential use.”

Eyerman said that the town’s attorney, Amy Tchao, of the Portland law firm Drummond Woodsum, has been in touch with Goldman about the best way to proceed, and that town officials expect Crooker will move forward with starting the review process in the near future.

Crooker did not return a call seeking comment.

J. Craig Anderson, Reporter, Harpswell Anchor

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