Ferry terminal bond language finalized

BAR HARBOR — The ballot question for the ferry terminal property purchase bond will not include language detailing potential funding sources that could be used to pay down the general obligation bond’s debt service, following a Town Council vote last week.

Councilors believed the language could be construed as a promise for outside funding to taxpayers, a promise some councilors did not want to make.

The motion not to amend the bond was approved by a 6-1 vote. Councilor Gary Friedmann cast the only dissenting vote.

The draft change would have added to the explanation section of the bond question. The updated warrant article would have said taxpayers would foot the bill as well as “such sources as may be approved by the Town Council, including, but not limited to, grants, cruise ship fund and philanthropic funds, etc. over the 20 year payback period.”

Friedmann said he supported the draft amendment because taxpayers did not want to shoulder the whole bond and this would reassure them that the council is trying to reduce their burden.

“People need to know that we’re actively looking for other sources to pay down this bond,” Friedmann said. “It paints a clearer picture for the voters.”

Councilor Matt Hochman said a general obligation bond inherently places the burden on taxpayers. The council will look at other funding sources, he said, but it cannot guarantee them.

Later in the meeting, councilors unanimously recommended the adoption of the bond. The Warrant Committee also issued a unanimous recommendation. These recommendations will appear on the ballot in June.

Councilors also scheduled a public hearing for May 15 on the questions that will appear on the written town meeting ballot.

Zoning change

Councilors also acted to place a land use ordinance amendment on the ballot that would move Acadia Veterinary Hospital into the Downtown Village II district, as well as add veterinary clinic as a permitted use in that district.

The hospital is currently in the Downtown Residential district, which does not expressly allow veterinary clinics. The business was opened in the mid-1970s, and nonconforming use laws have allowed the use.

The change received unanimous approval from the Planning Board in February. The change will be on the town meeting ballot in June.

Another proposed change, rezoning the Downeast Horizons property on Route 3, will wait until the November ballot. Councilors set a public hearing for Aug. 7 for this change.

The property sits in both the Town Hill Rural and Town Hill Residential districts. Only the Town Hill Rural district allows the eleemosynary use (related to charity), under which Downeast Horizons operates.


Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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