BAR HARBOR — The business plan from longtime consultants Bermello and Ajamil for the abandoned ferry terminal property here will be presented to residents on May 14 at Mount Desert Island High School.
That’s a month before a vote on a $3.5 million bond issue to purchase the property from the Maine Department of Transportation. The question will go to voters on the written town meeting ballot on June 12.
Town councilors discussed the ferry terminal property at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting at the request of resident Val Peacock, who sent a number of questions regarding the process for town decisions about development of the property.
Peacock asked if it was possible for the town to wait on development of the property until the best possible use is found. Town Manager Cornell Knight said the town could wait as long as it wants, but the debt service would need to be paid, and no revenue would be generated until development proceeded.
Knight said the business plan likely will be released next week by the consultants and will be posted on the town website. He expected a number of options to be summarized in the report, complete with estimated costs and revenues. The council would be in charge of deciding the best option in the future, he said.
“One of the concepts will rise to the top,” Knight said. “That plan would move forward with votes from the council and input from the public.”
Knight added that all business planning by Bermello and Ajamil assumes a 20-year payback and destruction of all existing structures at the property.
The May 14 meeting will feature public comment, according to Knight. He expects the meeting to last two hours, with B&A’s presentation lasting half an hour.
“I would expect people to be able to voice their opinion and make comments at an open mic session,” Knight said. An outside facilitator will lead the discussion.
Martha Searchfield of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce said some confusion in the public stems from the idea that B&A will suggest one final option for the development of the pier.
“It’s not a final plan; it’s a draft of a few different versions,” she said. “I’m sensing that some [think a] final report is about to be delivered and that’s not the case.”
Councilor Matt Hochman said the council is constantly receiving input from citizens and will not make a decision on the best plan “in a vacuum.”
“We’re constantly getting emails and phone calls,” he said. “We listen to everything people have to say, and it’s not just what you see happening in this room.”
The May 14 meeting will be a special Town Council meeting with a single agenda item. The next day, May 15, the Town Council will hold a public hearing on all the warrant items on the written ballot.
The council is not expected to take any action at the meeting.