Maine Yacht Center seeks to expand parking, outdoor boat storage

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PORTLAND — Maine Yacht Center is looking to expand outdoor boat storage and parking at its Kensington Street marina. 

To do so, the city must rezone a strip of grassy land that runs along the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad tracks to Interstate 295. The Planning Board will hold a public hearing Oct. 13 on the requested change from residential to light industrial zoning and issue a recommendation to the City Council. 

“We need some more space,” Maine Yacht Center General Manager Brian Harris said. “We’ve always been constricted.”  

The contract zone would allow the yacht center to demolish a vacant, single-story office building and use the land as an outdoor storage area for boats where owners could conduct light maintenance activities from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

According to city documents, rezoning the land would allow 18 additional parking spaces. Outdoor storage for boats less than 90 feet tall would be allowed, but without vertical stacking. 

According to the minutes of a Sept. 23 neighborhood forum, residents were concerned about any increase in noise associated with the expansion. They also questioned whether existing trees would have to be removed.

Harris said the yacht center is taking steps to address the concerns of the neighborhood, including potential noise associated with people working on their boats. Such work would include seasonal maintenance and minor repairs, but not major structural or engine repairs, sandblasting, pressure washing or overnight lodging.

“The work is going to be minimal and controlled,” Harris said. “The neighbors just wanted to make sure the landscaped buffer was going to be done tastefully and that it was going to be effective in providing a real buffer. So we assured them that would be the case.”

The Maine Yacht Center is full-service marina with 80 boat slips. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or