A home under construction on Merrill Hill in Newry. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

NEWRY —  Newry is a tale of two cities. On the Sunday River side of Newry, a housing boom is underway. Several lots are for sale and many houses are already under construction including a 7,000 square foot home at the the top of Rubellite Point.

“[On Merrill Hill by Sunday River] there are lots that have sold for over a million dollars, just the land. It is undeveloped, raw land,” said Newry Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey.

“We did a revaluation in Newry in 2022. We’re at 50%,” said Newry Town Assessor Rob Duplisea, “Anything to do with the mountain has doubled since 2022.

“We had a lot of grief from the condominium owners, the small [condominiums] that look like Motel 6.  We had $55,000 – $77,000 on them from the revaluation that was done before I got there. We had sales that were $185,000.  They [the owners] were just livid. Their tax bill tripled but it is justified. Those condominiums are now selling for $300,000 to $325,000.”

Home under construction on the top of Merrill Hill in Newry. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

New homes

Corey is working on 24 new home permits currently. Another 20 are for, “additions, decks, sheds, and a new [ski] lift,” she said.


Many of the most expensive homes are in the Merrill Hill, developments off Monkey Brook Road at Sunday River. Some of the homes in the development will have private access ski areas. The deed covenant reads, “Access to and use of any ski amenities at the Project shall be limited exclusively to Owners of Upper Lots and their Guests.”

The upper level lots are owned by Boyne Properties Maine LLC; while the lower level abutting parcel with 45 available lots, is owned by Maine Ski Holdings, LLC.

Boyne Resorts owns Sunday River Ski Resort; Ron Savage owns Maine Ski Holdings, LLC.

Completed home on Merrill Hill in Newry. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen


Corey has worked in Norway and Oxford – towns that adhered to Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, and were therefore were mandated by state law to have certificates of occupancy inspections.

She said she would be even busier and likely need another employee if Newry was part of MUBEC. “I’m not authorized by the townspeople to do any enforcement for the [MUBEC] building code,” she said.


On new homes, Corey does just four inspections: two are for the septic system and the other are two for internal plumbing.

She’ll review the home’s plans and remind the contractors that they need to meet state requirements. Pointing at a internet-purchased plan for a home that is being built, she says “like snow load [adherence] … whether they build it [following the code] is up to the homeowner.”

“There are $4 million homes being built with no inspections,” she says.

Only the homes in the subdivisions are required by town ordinance to have sprinklers, she said.  Newry’s fire equipment could have difficulty reaching these high elevation homes, she explains.

Looking ahead

The tax laws were written 250 years ago and property tax is an ad valorem tax (according to value), says Duplisea. “A sure sign of people’s worth was how much property they owned… it is in our constitution. It’s a basic premise,” he explains.

Beginning in April 2024, the valuations will likely increase further, he adds. But it is not on the real estate agents. “It is all on what the market is willing to bear. Ultimately the market is set by the willing seller and that knowledgeable buyer,” said Duplisea.

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