Lessons learned

To the Editor:

The majority of Bar Harbor voters have spoken, and the town should listen. We don’t want parking meters and parking garages in downtown Bar Harbor. Ironically, this is consistent with the town’s own comprehensive plan, updated in 2007. The vision for Bar Harbor in 2020: “The traditional, seaside village character is retained …”.

By voting against budget funding for parking meters and against parking garage LUOs in Downtown Village I and II, Bar Harbor residents expressed their concern that both of these parking solutions by the town were not compatible with the town’s own goal to preserve the character of our unique community.

Most voters said “no” to smart meters that would change the look and feel of our quaint 19th– and 20th-century streetscapes. We also said “no” to LUO Articles 7 and 8 that would have allowed big city downtown parking garages. Both votes are a message to the town that their proposals were not compatible with their own vision, and more importantly, not compatible with most residents’ vision for Bar Harbor.

The majority of Bar Harbor voters also voted for LUO Article 12 and against Article 13. This, again, is consistent with the town’s comprehensive plan to preserve “the traditional, seaside village character …”.

By moving most cruise ship arrival and departure activities to the former ferry terminal location, away from the town pier, residents hope to significantly reduce congestion and regain their own seasonal use and enjoyment of Bar Harbor’s downtown waterfront.

The moral of this story is clear. Before the town proposes any more changes to the downtown area, it should listen more by conducting more public forums with more civility, led by independent moderators, and held in independent locations like the Jesup Library. Discussions should focus on how any proposed changes are perceived by the residents to affect the precious character of our unique community.

Pete Bono

Bar Harbor

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