The pending sale of a wholesale seafood dealer and restaurant at Pine Point in Scarborough is raising worries about the future of the town’s working waterfront.

Susan Bayley Clough and Vincent Clough, longtime nearby residents and business owners, have an agreement to buy Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-Op at 96 King St. The co-op has a long history as the epicenter of Scarborough’s lobster and soft-shell clam industry.

Aside from a face-lift, Bayley Clough says that is how she wants to preserve it.

“We intend to use the building in the exact same manner it is used now,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “Maintaining the working waterfront access is 100 percent our goal.”

The couple live just a few doors down from the co-op and own Bayley’s Lobster Pound and the nearby Bait Shed and The Garage BBQ restaurants. Her family has been in the area for more than a century, Bayley Clough said.

Her idea is to boost buying from the co-op to supply her restaurants, offering better prices and more business to local lobstermen. Deed covenants on the co-op building prevent further expansion anyway, she said.


“We have talked to a lot of stakeholders in this area,” Bayley Clough said. “I think the opposition is fairly local but very minority.”

But William Hamill, a clammer and member of the town’s shellfish conservation commission, worries that a sale could eliminate one of the only local places that fishermen have to sell a catch, buy and store bait and find reliable parking.

“If the bait cooler was to go away and it was to cease being a buying station for clams and lobsters, it would make Pine Point much more difficult and less appealing to fishermen,” Hamill said.

For Hamill and others, the situation mirrors contests playing out on the Maine coast as traditional marine businesses compete with new commercial development for scarce waterfront real estate.

Portland recently established a task force to mediate conflicting waterfront uses, and there is a drawn-out battle over proposed zoning plans to allow new hotels and tourism in Boothbay Harbor. Smaller skirmishes over waterfront access and aquaculture are being waged across the state.

The restaurants that Bayley Clough and her husband own have increased traffic and changed the character of the neighborhood, Hamill said, and he’s concerned about more changes.


“I think Pine Point is a microcosm of Maine overall,” he said. “You have a small community that was historically a fishing community. The way that development has been shaping the area is kind of making that go away.”

The co-op got its start when the town gave land to a fishermen’s association in 1964. It was later sold to a private business partnership.

But there are still deed restrictions on the property that require Town Council approval for a sale, constrain expansion of the building and limit mortgage indebtedness to $125,000 without council authorization.

The town has assessed the property at $611,400.

Councilors will hold a workshop at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the potential sale. The buyers want to increase the mortgage debt limit to $900,000, according to a memo from Town Manager Thomas Hall.

“They want to better understand what the intent is going forward,” said Councilor Peter Hayes. “How do we make sure we preserve the working waterfront, make sure fishermen have waterfront access, and what does that mean for the current activities going on,” he said. “There is a lot of passion on either side of that conversation.”


Change can be stressful, especially when it comes to something that would affect his livelihood, said Dennis Violette, a lobsterman who fishes out of Pine Point. Although he worries about the future of Maine’s working waterfront, he trusts the co-op will stay the same, even with new ownership.

“This has been a co-op for, I’m guessing, about 50 years,” Violette said.

“It has to remain that way. It is surrounded by all town land and they are very restricted on what they can do. It has to remain a fishing facility; they have to buy lobster.”

Peter McGuire can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: