Vacation rental fee challenged

BAR HARBOR — Property owners Jonathan Eno and Karen Gilfillan-Eno have hired the law firm Vafiades, Brountas, & Kominsky of Bangor to challenge the town’s new $250 annual vacation rental fee implemented this year.

On behalf of the Enos, Paul Brown stated in a May 16 letter to Town Council that the annual permit fee is “a violation of Maine law” that requires “any fee established by a municipality for any license or permit must reasonably reflect the municipality’s coast associated with the license or permit procedure and enforcement.”

Citing notes from a Dec. 18 meeting, Brown wrote that the $250 fee is expected to generate “revenue almost five times the actual cost of enforcing” vacation rentals.

Town Attorney Edmond Bearor made an initial response to Brown in a June 18 email: “We believe, however, that the fee is reasonably related to the issue of vacation rentals and administering and enforcing compliance. … [T]he town is currently devoting significant resources to the situation,” which Bearor argued means “the fee is not unreasonable.”

Town Manager Cornell Knight told town councilors last week that the town plans to file an official response.

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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