BELFAST – The City Council continued its discussion on the Belfast Yards property located at 45 Front St. during a work session held Oct. 25.

As part of the work session, City Manager Erin Herbig had councilors use red, yellow and green stickers on five white poster boards placed throughout the council’s chamber. Each poster board had five questions relating to different aspects of the Belfast Yards project including: Layout and aesthetics, role of the city, finance and ownership, commercial uses, residential uses.

Based upon how councilors placed their stickers, Herbig was able to sum up the survey as follows: “The redevelopment of the Belfast Yards parcel should maximize the assessed value, possibly supplemented by a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) credit enhancement agreement that maximizes both the sale price and the number of owners.”

Herbig further noted the council favored the city neither owning nor managing the property. She noted the council favored dividing the property into a business park model for purchase or lease.

As far as potential commercial and residential uses were concerned, Herbig noted the council favored as commercial uses marine or related space, restaurants and retail space, and for residential uses, market rate housing that is either owned or rented.

During discussion of the project, Councilor Mary Mortier said one of the important points to consider in the council’s discussion of Belfast Yards is how the waterfront supports marine uses. Specifically, she brought up the proximity of Thompson’s Wharf to the Belfast Yards property and said discussion of the wharf needed to be part of the overall conversation.

Councilor Neal Harkness then asked Harbormaster Kathy Given to weigh in regarding Thompson’s Wharf.

Given said the whole inner harbor is the most important part of the harbor. She said to put anything in that area that is not necessary or marine-related is not the best move. She suggested the council look at the area from a waterfront perspective first, not from a land-based perspective. Given added that there is already conflict in the area with mixed-use businesses, and that mixing a working waterfront with other types of uses ultimately isn’t sustainable for the working waterfront.

Councilor Mike Hurley said he felt the entire frontage of Steamboat Landing would be a huge opportunity for a wharf and that he didn’t think the city was limited solely to the inner harbor.

As discussion progressed, Hurley said the most important thing to determine is the city’s role in the Belfast Yards project. Hurley said he favors small private ownership for lots on the current Belfast Yards parcel.

Councilors then debated whether to perhaps sell lots for individual development or have some form of master development at the site.

Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge said he thinks the city’s goals could be best achieved by a master development at the site. Code and Planning Director Bub Fournier said he felt the council should look to what the market wants, with a focus on different owners giving variety to the area.

After some further discussion, the council decided to schedule another work session for Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m., possibly at the Waldo County Shrine Club at 20 Northport Ave. Councilorsvalso suggested inviting local businesses, the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce, members of the Harbor Committee and other related interested parties to participate.

At one point councilors also discussed setting a public hearing to allow resident input on the matter, but they said they wanted that to come after the meeting Nov. 29.