To the Editor:
After the Cat ferry discontinued operations in Bar Harbor in 2010, several stakeholders from the town and the state put their heads together and began a conversation.
The stakeholders sought to ascertain whether the town could acquire the ferry terminal property to relocate cruise ship operations. The goal was to more safely manage cruise ship activities and relieve congestion around the town pier. The stakeholders engaged a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study. The result of that study was that the town could create a mixed-use facility that would be financially viable at current passenger cap levels.
The feasibility study is not the plan. Its stats and drawings are illustrations created by the authors, not by any member of the stakeholder group. The feasibility study does not commit the town to this vision. The citizens of Bar Harbor are free to create their own vision with the only caveat being that it must be financially viable.
Who wouldn’t want that? Article 12 is nothing more than the first step in this multi-step process. Article 12 is a zoning change question that would enable anyone, whether it be the town or a private interest, to create a mixed-use facility with the primary use being marine transportation activities.
Article 12 does not commit the town to buying the property for further development. The passage of Article 12 and the defeat of Article 13 will allow the conversation to continue. The purchase of the property is subject to an affirmative vote by the citizens of Bar Harbor.
Before we are asked to make that decision, we will have several opportunities to weigh in on how the property should be developed, what it will look like, and how it will be managed.
For those who are fearful of a plan that threatens the peaceful enjoyment of our community, please take part in those conversations. That is the appropriate time and place to raise the concerns presented by the authors of Article 13. The passage of Article 13 will eliminate the opportunity to acquire a property that has significant potential to serve the town of Bar Harbor. The passage of Article 13 removes all citizen control over the future development of the ferry terminal property.
Please vote “no” on Article 13. Please vote “yes” on Article 12 so that we can continue the conversation.