By the Bar Harbor Town Council
On June 11 Bar Harbor residents will vote on two citizen petition questions.
Article 5, intended to prevent cruise ship berthing, will prevent any pier or water related structure from exceeding 300 feet in length.
The unintended consequences of this amendment are immense. It severely impacts the town’s use of the municipal pier and ferry terminal, as well as many other properties.
There are 11 pier structures in Bar Harbor, both public and privately owned, that exceed the 300-foot limit and would immediately become non-conforming if this article were to pass. A non-conforming structure cannot be expanded or enlarged in any way.
The municipal pier is 305 feet long and could not be added onto. College of the Atlantic’s pier is 320 feet long and could not be added onto. The Bar Harbor Inn pier is 371 feet and could not be added onto. The ferry terminal pier is 500 feet long and could not be added onto for a marina if this article passes.
This article is completely unnecessary. The town has no intention of building a pier to dock cruise ships. The Harbor Committee, currently studying uses of the ferry terminal property, is not considering building a berthing pier. Cruise ship berthing is not on the list of activities or uses for any town property.
This article precludes the committee from developing a plan that includes uses recommended by the Ferry Terminal Property Advisory Committee. That committee recommended a multi-use facility including a marina, boat launch and a possible cruise tendering and transportation hub.
The Town Council recommends you vote no on Article 5. The Harbor Committee voted 9-0 to reject this article.
Article 4 will limit voting membership on town boards and committees to only registered voters of Bar Harbor. This article is directed at the Cruise Ship Committee.
The mission of the committee is to advise the Town Council on cruise ship related matters. To accomplish that goal the Town Council appoints some members that have expertise in the cruise industry but who may not necessarily live in town.
For example, the harbor pilot (who guides cruise ships into port) and harbormaster are not residents, but their input is valuable to the work of the committee. The committee has no power other than making recommendations to the Town Council. To avoid losing cruise ship experience from the committee, the Town Council recommends you vote no on question 4.
Town Councilors Gary Friedmann, Matthew Hochman, Stephen Coston, Paul Paradis, Joseph Minutolo and Judith Noonan voted unanimously at the May 7 council meeting to approve this letter and ask for it to be published.