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Pop's Shell Shack plans move ahead

By Jennifer L. Saunders
[email protected]

August 31, 2005 YORK MAINE- The first step toward rehabilitating one of the town’s Victorian-era hotels has been taken right on schedule.

Town Planner Steve Burns confirmed last week that an application to renovate and revitalize the former Atlantic House hotel, known for the past decade or so as "Pop’s Shell Shack," has been filed for Planning Board review.

Burns said Friday no date for the Planning Board to begin the process has been set as he must first review the application, which was received this month.

Back in March, the property’s owner, Don Rivers, approached the Planning Board with members of his design team to share his concept for a new lease on life at this historic property. The conceptual plan included upscale shops on the first floor with a year-round restaurant on the second. Rivers proposed six residential condominiums on the third and fourth floors.

At the time, Rivers said the goal is to return the derelict building, located in the heart of York Beach’s business district, to its gracious 19th-century style. The revitalization effort coincides with an ongoing initiative in York Beach to revitalize the business district surrounding Short Sands Beach and to extend the "season" there with amenities that will bring local residents - and not just tourists - to York Beach.

During the conceptual review of the project in March, the Planning Board voiced support for the idea, but cautioned Rivers’ development team that there will be issues to contend with - such as awaiting growth permits for any proposed year-round housing at the site. Another issue raised by Burns during the conceptual review was parking, which is at a premium in the York Beach area.

"This is absolutely what the comprehensive plan calls for in the beach, to get some reinvestment in these old buildings," Burns told the board during the conceptual review of the project.

At that time, members of the development team indicated they hoped to bring the project forward by this autumn.

- Jennifer L. Saunders

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