LUO changes recommended

BAR HARBOR — Three changes to the land use ordinance (LUO) are set to go to a public hearing at a future Town Council meeting following the Planning Board’s meeting on Dec. 20.

The Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend removing appendix C and moving its information about permitted uses for town districts to chapter 125, article III in the body of the ordinance.

Currently, all 40 town districts have dimensional standards listed in article III, but only 10 have their permitted uses listed there. The remaining 30 district’s permitted uses are in appendix C’s matrix. This move does not change any information but consolidates it into one place, according to town officials.

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

Changes to the land use ordinance have been contentious in the past. A 2013 lawsuit nullified changes made in 2010 that had allowed large hotels in Hulls Cove after a judge ruled that citizens were not properly notified about the proposed changes.

The amended draft of chapter 125, article III includes a map of each district, dimensional standards, permitted uses and setbacks.

Two more changes were recommended by the Planning Board: omitting local timber harvesting requirements and correcting shoreland zoning. Both of these sections are not compliant with current state regulations.

The Planning Board unanimously recommended that timber harvesting information be removed from the LUO.

“In a nutshell, it was determined that the standards we have for timber harvest in our ordinance are not consistent with the [state’s],” Chamberlain said. “We needed to make changes or else [the state] would not [assist with enforcement in Bar Harbor.]”

Chamberlain said the change, if passed, would end local permitting for timber harvesting, and the state will handle permits.

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 were approved.

Similar to timber harvesting, there were differences in Bar Harbor’s shoreland zoning and Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s mandatory shoreland zoning act.

The town has to follow these guidelines despite not listing them in the LUO. The corrections include removing accessory dwellings and changing setback information.

There was no public comment on any of the three changes. All changes will be submitted to the Town Council and their placement on the June 12, 2018 warrant will be requested. Public hearings will be scheduled for these recommended changes at later Town Council meetings.

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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