BAR HARBOR — The long-planned and much-contested proposed repeal and replacement of the land use ordinance will be the subject of a public hearing before town council on Tuesday, May 5. This will be the last public debate on the issue before it comes before voters on written ballot at the annual town meeting in June. The council meeting begins at 7 p.m.
The proposal, which has the support of both the planning board and warrant committee, is meant to reorganize the ordinance into a more user-friendly format while also eliminating conflicting language. Major proposed changes include the elimination of the Appendix C table of uses and the splitting of subdivision and site plan review into two separate sections.
Town officials have stated multiple times that no policy changes are intended by the proposed new ordinance, and that the plan should be viewed as the first phase of a multi-phase project. Next steps would include specific policy changes that the citizenry is interested in.
A core group of opponents of the proposal have spoken out against it over the course of many public meetings, stating that it is incomprehensible, that it doesn’t solve most of the problems with the ordinance, and that it is too vast a change for anyone to take in all at once.
The project has been in the works since 2010, when former town planner Anne Krieg contracted with attorney Mary Denison for the job. It was set to be completed by 2012, but was significantly delayed when Krieg left her position in 2011. The project has twice been on track for a vote, but was pulled from the ballots when errors were discovered by citizen activists and warrant committee members.
The proposed new ordinance can be viewed online at BarHarborMaine.gov, in the town planning office, and at the Jesup Memorial Library.