News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, July 6, 2017
Five-year lighthouse keeper’s house lease approved

The Dyce Head lighthouse

The Dyce Head lighthouse in Castine will stay a private residence for at least the next five years after a recent vote of the board of selectmen.

Penobscot Bay Press file photo

by Monique Labbe

After an hour of back and fourth discussion between selectmen and community members, selectmen voted 2-1 (Basile) to approve another five-year lease for the current tenant of the Dyce Head Lighthouse keeper’s house.

Conversations about changing the lease to one year to allow for the possibility of renting the property on a short-term basis began at a meeting of the selectmen June 19. At that meeting, Town Manager Jimmy Goodson said that he had been approached by local real estate agents interested in devising a system for leasing the property year-round on a short-term basis. The result of that meeting was for Goodson to speak with the real estate companies in town to gauge their interest. This came at the request of the selectmen.

Goodson met with four real estate brokers that same week, three of whom declined to discuss a master lease. These brokers noted that they were in favor of leasing the property on a long-term basis. One broker, Karen Koos from Salt Meadow Properties, said the company would be interested in leasing the house short term, but was not willing to enter into a master lease. Without a master lease agreement, the town would still be responsible for upkeep of the rental, assisting renters and furnishing the building, according to Goodson.

Goodson added that the property could go for about $1,500 a week during the summer season, and bring in the same amount on a monthly basis during the winter season. Goodson said his calculations showed that the yearly income would only be about $10,000 more than what is currently being paid by current tenant Tracy Lameyer.

“Right now, I don’t think it makes sense under that scenario,” said Goodson.

Goodson suggested that the community form a volunteer nonprofit organization to look into maximizing the benefits of the lighthouse grounds, including tours of the entire property on a more regular basis. The organization would not be formed by the town, but operated under a separate 501(c)3.

“I think we’re so focused on the keeper’s house, but we can all agree that the lighthouse is a jewel in Castine. We need to be looking at ways to capitalize on the entire property,” said Goodson.

Lameyer’s new lease is good until June of 2022.