BAR HARBOR — One of the zoning change proposals with a public hearing scheduled for the Tuesday, Feb. 18, Town Council meeting would adjust a district boundary at the Hulls Cove property formerly known as the Park Entrance Motel.
The change was requested by Holiday Associates of Naples, one of the entities that hotel company Ocean Properties does business under. The company bought the hotel at a foreclosure auction in 2001 and continued to operate it for a few years. Now it’s primarily used as employee housing, company representative Eben Salvatore said, but the registered use is still a hotel.
The current boundary line between the Shoreland General Development II district and Hulls Cove Business district runs between the two existing larger motel buildings. The change would move the boundary back from the water, making it a more of a straight line across the Ocean Avenue neighborhood. It would also add campgrounds and a new category of transient accommodations (TA) as allowed uses in the shoreland zone.
Hotels, motels and conference centers are already allowed in Shoreland General Development II. At the suggestion of the Planning Board, the proposal includes a new TA category, TA-9, which is similar to the existing TA-8 use but is more restrictive in that it has a maximum of 75 rooms.
Salvatore said the development density under the concept plan for a campground and cabins would be less than an option allowed under current zoning: subdividing the lot and building 25 separate TA-2 businesses (4-25 rooms each), an allowed use in the Hulls Cove Business district.
Some town councilors expressed skepticism about the proposal when the council decided to put the change on the warrant for June Town Meeting and schedule the public hearing.
“I don’t feel like in here is any explanation of why we need changes,” Councilor Erin Cough said, referring to the draft warrant article. Councilor Gary Friedmann said he shared her concerns, but he thought the public hearing would be the best place to have that debate.