Two-thirds law on zoning vote stands – for now

ELLSWORTH — A judge has denied a motion that two citizen referendum questions on Bar Harbor’s town meeting ballot are exempt from a law requiring a two-thirds margin to pass.

The two citizen’s initiatives to amend the Town of Bar Harbor’s land use ordinance (LUO) won simple majorities at town meeting elections June 9, but not two-thirds of the votes cast.

“The issues raised in the Motion to Clarify Judgment are moot and non-justicable,” Hancock County Superior Court Justice Robert Murray ruled June 15.

The motion, filed May 13 by resident and attorney Arthur Greif, challenged the rule in the LUO requiring a two-thirds majority vote for changes to the ordinance not supported by the town’s planning board. He claimed a provision dealing with the introduction of ordinances or resolutions in the town’s charter supersedes the specific amendment procedures outlined in the LUO.

In an email to the Islander Friday, Greif said he believes Justice Murray ruled the matter to clarify the election results moot because the election was over. “That does not prevent him from ruling on the ultimate issue of whether the initiatives are now governing law,” Greif said.

“I will file a new action to get this issue clarified. I had hoped to save the town money by getting this clarified as part of the pending action.”

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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