LUO changes go to ballot

BAR HARBOR — Three changes to the land use ordinance (LUO), including the removal of the problematic appendix C, will go to voters in June after three unanimous votes by councilors following a public hearing on March 20. The other two draft changes would bring timber harvesting and shoreland zoning guidelines into compliance with state laws.

The Planning Board unanimously recommended all three amendments on Dec. 20.

Appendix C, a table that displays permitted uses for 30 of the town’s 40 districts, would be removed entirely from the charter. The information, with no changes, would be included in the text of chapter 125, article III of the land use ordinance. Ten districts already have their permitted uses in article III.

“[The table] is kind of complicated and hard to read,” said Angie Chamberlain, then the town’s interim planner, in December. “We’re not changing what’s allowed in any district. It’s just simply moving the information to a different area of the ordinance.”

Each district also would have a detailed individual map included before its dimensional standards, setbacks and permitted uses.

At the hearing, resident Michael Good said the appendix was convenient and asked if the town could leave it attached to the LUO. Chamberlain said leaving the appendix in the charter could cause confusion.

“Unfortunately, when you get too much information in too many places, a change gets made in one place and it doesn’t get made in another,” she said.

The change to timber harvesting in Bar Harbor would eliminate all language pertaining to harvesting, meaning the town would rely solely on state regulations. Chamberlain said in December that, if passed, there would be no local permitting for harvesting.

Good advocated for keeping Bar Harbor’s timber harvesting standards, saying they are stricter than state regulations.

“We all care about this place and what happens to it,” he said. “The town plays an important role in our forests being overcut.”

Chamberlain said the town was forced to make the changes because the state would no longer enforce Bar Harbor’s unique regulations.

Information on where timber harvesting is permitted in Bar Harbor is included in appendix C, but that information will be removed outright if both this change and the removal of the appendix are approved.

The third change would adjust required setbacks and remove accessory dwellings as a permitted use in shoreland districts. The change is necessary to make the ordinance conform to state law, according to the Planning Department.

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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