Parking zoning changes to air

BAR HARBOR — A public hearing on proposed zoning changes to add “parking garage” as an allowed use in some districts and to remove it in others is set for Wednesday, July 6, at 4 p.m.

The six proposed amendments to the town’s land use ordinance (LUO) add “parking lot,” “parking deck” and “parking garage” as allowed uses in some districts and removing “parking garage” in others.

The combined group agreed to split the questions about parking garages into separate warrant articles.

At a joint workshop in late May, the Town Council and Planning Board agreed to split the proposed changes into the six separate questions.

That decision was a reversal from December, when the council scrapped a similar group of specific proposed parking-related LUO amendments and instead directed the Planning Board to propose a single warrant article with a comprehensive recommendation for parking-related land uses throughout the town.

“There’s a lot of context to the whole question of parking,” Bob Osborne, the town’s planning director, said last month. “The town has struggled with this for a long time. Questions about public parking lots or on-street parking are less to do with land use and more to do with what mixture of free parking and paid parking the town wants.”

The land use ordinance lays out rules for how private landowners may develop property, though any municipal projects also have to follow the rules set in it. Under the current language in the ordinance, parking garages are allowed in some districts if they’re used “solely in conjunction with a multifamily dwelling or hotel.” They are classified as an “accessory use.”

Task Force

The town’s new Parking Solutions Task Force was formally created by the council last week, but members have not yet been officially appointed.

Town Manager Cornell Knight said the Appointments Committee hopes to finalize the list in time for an official task force meeting in late July, he said.

An organizational meeting was held this week, but there was no posted agenda and officers will not be elected until appointments are complete, Knight said.

The former Backyard Parking Committee met in May. Members of this group, many of whom plan to serve on the new task force, include Sherry Rasmussen, Eben Salvatore, Dick Cough, Jill Goldthwait, Martha Searchfield, Greg Veilleux, Jill Weber, Paul Paradis and Ron Beard.

Matt Hochman was appointed to serve as Town Council representative to the task force.


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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