BAR HARBOR — A long campaign about rezoning the former international ferry terminal property here comes to an end next week when voters decide on zoning amendments at the town meeting elections June 13.
Action on zoning articles 2-13, election of town officers and a state research bond question are on the ballot. Polls at the Municipal Building are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The last day to request absentee ballots is June 8. A sample ballot is available on the town website.
The proposed terminal zoning change in Article 12 was prepared by the town Planning Board in consultation with the Town Council and state officials. The new district is intended to specifically allow development of a cruise ship pier but also imposes restrictions aimed at fitting new development into the neighborhood.
Article 13 is a citizen initiative that would bar any cruise ship longer than 300 feet from docking anywhere in town, essentially blocking plans to construct a cruise ship dock at the terminal property. The article would require a land use ordinance change at town meeting elections to change the town’s daily passenger cap, but it does not propose to regulate the number of ship visits per season.
The town’s lease and proposed exclusive option to purchase the ferry terminal property for $2 or $2.5 million from the state will be terminated if Article 13 passes. Town officials have said any public purchase would be unlikely if that option falls through.
Other zoning amendments will affect future construction of parking facilities downtown and at The Jackson Laboratory, MDI Biological Laboratory and College of the Atlantic.
The proposals would add “parking lot,” “parking deck” and “parking garage” as allowed uses in various districts. The questions related to parking garages are separated by zoning district; for example, Question 11 would allow parking garages in the zone occupied by The Jackson Laboratory.
Article 14 updates the town’s official list of historic properties. The list appears as Appendix A in the town’s land use ordinance and is supposed to be updated annually by the Design Review Board.
The statewide bond question would provide $50 million in matching funds for grants to Maine institutions to support research and economic growth.
Brooks drops out
One of the four candidates for three seats on the Town Council is seeking to withdraw from the race. “I have found that career obligations and opportunities, volunteer hours and balancing a healthy life have more than filled my plate at this time,” candidate Erica Brooks said in a Facebook post Wednesday. Fellow candidates Stephen Coston, Erin Early Ward and Judie Noonan are now running effectively unopposed.
Marie Yarborough, Dwayne Bolt and Robin Sue Tapley are running for re-election to the school board. Sandy McFarland is seeking reelection to the high school trustees.