Sustainable growth

To the Editor:

Over the past 88 years, The Jackson Laboratory has enjoyed steady, sustainable growth on its main campus in Bar Harbor, attracting millions of federal research dollars to the state. JAX continues to grow – providing good-paying jobs with benefits; contracting with Maine construction companies; and purchasing goods and services from hundreds of Maine vendors.

Our recently completed master zoning plan calls for expanding research and education infrastructure in Bar Harbor. The plan incorporates input from a variety of external stakeholders, including neighbors, regional municipal officials, Acadia National Park and a variety of local organizations.

At JAX, we value stewardship and respect – stewardship of the assets with which the laboratory has been entrusted and respect for the surrounding environment. We plan and design structures to minimize our impact, to produce the smallest possible physical and environmental footprint and to blend into our unique and scenic environment on Mount Desert Island.

We remain committed to minimizing the number of cars coming to and parking on our campus, using programs such as the Downeast Transportation bus and GoMaine carpool systems. Despite these efforts, employment growth in Bar Harbor eventually will result in the need for additional campus parking.

Enactment of the proposed land use ordinance amendments 3, 4 and 11 on the June 13 ballot would give JAX (and other institutional employers) flexibility to continue to meet increased demands for parking without the need to convert forest to pavement. We firmly believe that a context-sensitive parking deck or garage is a far better solution than laying down more blacktop.

When consulted as part of the laboratory’s outreach, both Acadia National Park and Friends of Acadia agreed that using a parking garage to build up rather than out would minimize impacts on views from surrounding hiking trails at higher elevations and help maintain more acreage in its natural state. These solutions also would create a safer and more pedestrian-friendly campus.

We hope voters will approve land use ordinance amendments 3, 4 and 11, providing Hancock County’s largest employer with responsible growth solutions and supporting our shared values of stewardship and respect in Bar Harbor.

John Fitzpatrick

Senior Director, Facilities Services

The Jackson Laboratory

Bar Harbor

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