Planning Board looking at campground part of LUO 

TREMONT — An application for a proposed campground on Bass Harbor Drive was denied at the end of June for lack of completion. During the same meeting, members of the Planning Board initiated a conversation about further changes to the campground section of the town’s land use ordinance (LUO).  

At the beginning of May, for the second time in a year, representatives of a proposed campground located at 158 Harbor Drive, under the name Pointy Head Campground, presented a site plan review application to the Planning Board. Despite the applicants meeting with the Planning Board prior to presenting the application, more aspects of the application were incomplete than those that met the town’s requirements.  

Applicants are allowed to return to the Planning Board within a 30-day period after an application is denied due to incompleteness to present an updated version in which items previously missing are addressed. Representatives of the proposed 15-site campground failed to do so and did not inquire about an extension to the deadline, according to Planning Board Chairman Mark Good, during the June 11 meeting.  

When Good went before the Board of Selectmen on June 7 to request on behalf of the Planning Board that they consider putting a vote before residents to enact a campground moratorium, it was the second time in six months that request was made. Four out of the five selectmen decided not to support the request and suggested the Planning Board work on the town’s LUO campground section and put any changes to it before voters.  

During the June 22 Planning Board meeting, Good asked other members if they thought they could make the deadline for either a November vote or the 2022 Town Meeting with any additions or amendments to the LUO. Geoff Young, a member of the Planning Board, had four points to make on the matter regarding land use definitions, impact and aspects of the town’s previous comprehensive plan regarding the residential business zone. 

“Should we have our town attorney give us some drafts of various ways to describe what campground means and how we could consider putting a definition that’s more useful in our ordinance?” Young asked the board, also suggesting the town’s attorney, James Collier, help with a definition of light commercial use. “I’m wondering if we could have the same approach of how to define that rather than implying or using common sense, but rather having a more precise way of looking at it.” 

Good also felt a more precise definition for the term ‘light commercial’ would be useful in the ordinance. 

“I did ask Jesse to ask James about that,” Good said at the meeting. “We have no definition for light commercial. I did some looking around but I didn’t find it anywhere in any towns… A lot of towns do have light, heavy and industrial.” 

Using Young’s suggestions as a springboard, members of the Planning Board discussed them and other changes for another 45 minutes before voting in favor of a motion to have Town Manager/Code Enforcement Officer Jesse Dunbar ask Collier to look at ways of addressing possible definitions of light commercial and campgrounds. 


Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.