Pressing issue

To the Editor:

I want to thank the Islander for its timely and important editorial “Housing Diversity” in the April 13 issue.

As we all know too well, affordable housing for both our seasonal employees and our year-round residents is one of the most pressing issues facing our community. Without shelter, our workforce and families will be forced to seek housing and jobs elsewhere. We will not survive long term as a town. Our excellent schools and family neighborhoods will continue to diminish and disappear.

The editorial walks the reader carefully and correctly through how each number and word in our land use ordinance (LUO) can make a difference in what could be a weekly vacation rental rather than seasonal or permanent housing. A citizen lawyer tried to carefully point this out to the Planning Board on Dec. 21, without effect. He didn’t give up, and finally the warrant article was pulled after the council, on March 7, split, 3-3 on an LUO amendment that would have created another loophole for weekly rentals. The Islander now is in sync with that citizen lawyer and wrote in its editorial “any increase in density should include an ironclad prohibition on any of the new units being used for rentals of less than 90 days, regardless of zone.”

Finally, the Islander has my big thanks for being one of the few public voices that pointed out in an earlier editorial that the eviction of year-round residents and families who once lived at Acadia Apartments to accommodate the seasonal workers of Ocean Properties was regrettable. This was clearly the wrong way to create seasonal housing.

Let’s work together as a community to create affordable seasonal and year-round housing for all workers and families.

Donna Karlson

Bar Harbor

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