To the Editor:
On Election Day, July 14, Bar Harbor voters will be voting on several major changes to our Land Use Ordinance. Article 4 is especially difficult to understand. Employee living quarters (ELQs) are worker dorms that have no limit on the number of employees in a structure.
I am upset because this change is being proposed in my district, Town Hill Residential, and I was not properly notified. The notice for public hearings did not include the names of any districts where ELQs would be permitted. State law requires that public notices of zoning changes be “written in plain English and understandable to the average citizen.” However, no public notice of any kind ever included the names of the 14 districts affected. The July 14 ballot does not include names of these districts. There is no way that a property owner or resident of Village Residential or Town Hill Residential districts or any other district would know ELQs would be added to their district.
Also, the planning director, when urging approval of ELQs in Town Hill Residential, failed to clarify to the Warrant Committee that transient accommodations (TA 2-7) are NOT actually permitted throughout Town Hill Residential. In Town Hill Residential, a beautiful area that reaches from Western Bay to the head of the Island and Frenchman Bay and includes Frenchman Hill, TA 2-7 are only allowed in one very small section near the Trenton town line where the Sunnyside Motel is located.
Article 4, along with Article 5 Shared Accommodations, also asks us to change the definition of family. This is extremely significant because it means ELQs and shared accommodations would be exempt from area per family standards that regulate density and protect groundwater and water resources in districts of Bar Harbor where there is no town water or sewer.
In closing, if you don’t fully understand the definitions or ramifications of Article 4 or any LUO amendment, I would encourage you to vote NO.
Diane L. Vreeland