Bar Harbor elects two new councilors

Posted June 15, 2011, at 6:24 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Local voters on Tuesday elected two new Town Council members, one who has served before, and re-elected the council chairman to another term.

Voters also decided to ease restrictions on weekly rentals and rejected a proposal to allow some accessory commercial uses at properties zoned for agricultural production.

In the seven-way Town Council race, newcomer Christopher Walsh received the most votes, garnering 467. Not far behind were Robert Garland, a former councilor, and current council Chairman Ruth Eveland. Garland garnered 445 votes and Eveland 444. Walsh ran for the council last year, but was unsuccessful in that bid.

Council member Vernon “Sandy” McFarland was unsuccessful in his re-election bid on Tuesday, receiving 263 votes.

In a contested race for one seat on the Mount Desert Island School District Board of Trustees, incumbent Shelley Mitchell, with 479 votes, defeated challenger Rob Jordan, who received 254. Jordan is a Town Council member who decided not to seek re-election to that seat.

Brian Hubbell and Claire Sasner ran unopposed for the two available seats on the Superintending School Committee. On MDI, the School District Board of Trustees oversees school physical facilities while the Superintending School Committee oversees school operations.

As for the proposed land use ordinance amendments, four were approved and two were rejected.

Voters narrowly rejected a proposal to expand the allowances for accessory dwellings on residential properties, with 422 opposed and 403 in favor. A proposal to allow commercial accessory uses on agricultural properties was rejected by an even more narrow margin, 418-412.

Residents approved a proposal to relax the town’s weekly rental restrictions with a 495-341 vote total. Proposals to amend the definition of kennels, include campgrounds in the town’s definition of transient accommodations and to permit the planning board to extend deadlines for starting construction on approved projects were passed by wide margins.

In a mandated validation vote, local voters also overwhelmingly reaffirmed their support for MDI High School. In that vote, 712 people voted in favor of the high school’s $8.6 million budget and 129 were opposed.

According to Rob Liebow, superintendent of schools for MDI, voters in Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor and Tremont also approved the high school budget on Tuesday by at least 4-to-1 ratios.

According to Bar Harbor Town Clerk Patricia Gray, 868 of the town’s 4,064 registered voters, or 21 percent, cast ballots in Tuesday’s local elections.

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