Funds to repair damage on the Seal Harbor pier will be up for a vote at this year's town meeting in Mount Desert. PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Burgers, burritos, bonds and budgets are on ballot

MOUNT DESERT — Voters at town meeting next Tuesday, May 5, will decide whether to allow food trucks to operate in certain town-owned parking lots and whether to authorize the town to issue up to $715,050 in bonds for infrastructure projects.

Voters also will be asked to approve municipal and school budgets for next fiscal year totaling $15.82 million.

The town meeting will be held in the Mount Desert Elementary School gymnasium starting at 6 p.m.

The proposed food truck ordinance would allow mobile food vendors to do business in the parking lots at the Northeast Harbor Marina, the beach and town pier in Seal Harbor and at Bartlett’s Landing. Such operations offer fast food and ethnic cuisine.

Supporters say the presence of a few mobile food vendors would enliven and attract more people to the villages. Opponents say food trucks would hurt established restaurants and repulse upscale visitors.

Under the proposed ordinance, the town would issue licenses to food truck operators. No more than five licenses could be in effect for the entire town at any one time.

Infrastructure bonds

The infrastructure bond issue would cover all or part of the cost of six projects. One is the shoring up of the boardwalk alongside Steamboat Wharf Road in Seal Harbor and the reconstruction of a section of the granite wall that supports the roadway and boardwalk. The estimated cost of that project is $202,000.

The bond issue also would cover the $155,000 cost of dredging the fire pond in Otter Creek to increase water storage capacity and the $45,000 reconstruction of the Otter Creek boat landing.

At town meeting last year, voters approved spending $105,000 to renovate the 93-year-old restroom building at the Seal Harbor Beach parking lot. The proposed bond issue would provide an additional $56,000 for that project.

About $122,000 of the bond money would go for structural improvements to the bridge on Brookside Road in Somesville.

The town budget that voters will be asked to approve at town meeting includes $320,000 for road paving projects in Northeast Harbor. The proposed bond issue would provide another $135,000 for those projects.

Town and school budgets

The proposed budget for next year includes $8.64 million for municipal services and $3.56 million for Mount Desert Elementary School. The overall budget would raise the tax rate by 5.31 percent, from $6.78 to $7.14 per $1,000 of property valuation.

Chickens and zoning changes

Voters also will decide whether to allow chickens to be kept in the village commercial and shoreland districts. No more than six chickens would be allowed per lot. Chickens currently are permitted in most other zoning districts.

Several other proposed changes to the town’s land use zoning ordinance (LUZO) are on the town meeting warrant. One would allow structures outside the shoreland zone to be enlarged without having to comply with standards intended for shoreland zoning. Another would allow accessory dwelling units on lots in certain zoning districts.

Election of officials

The town’s secret-ballot election of town officers is scheduled for Monday, May 4, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Somesville fire station.

Martha Dudman is running unopposed for reelection to the board of selectmen. Chuck Bucklin is unopposed in his bid for reelection to the Mount Desert Island High School board of trustees.

Three seats on the Mount Desert school committee are up for election, but only two candidates are on the ballot. They are Teresa King-LeClair and incumbent Caroline Pryor.

There are no other articles on the warrant for Monday’s secret-ballot voting.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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