June 23, 2018
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Bar Harbor rejects development moratorium

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Voters have elected two new members to the Town Council but have rejected a proposal to enact a six-month development moratorium in the village of Town Hill.

The development moratorium referendum, which was proposed after Hannaford Bros. announced plans in January to build a new supermarket in Town Hill, was rejected by more than 100 votes. There were 499 votes cast in favor of the moratorium but 606 votes cast against it.

The moratorium would have affected commercial building proposals of 10,000 square feet or larger in the Town Hill business district. Proponents of the moratorium were concerned that Hannford Bros. would get building permits for its planned 34,000-square-foot supermarket before the town could update its zoning ordinances to match Bar Harbor’s recently updated comprehensive plan. Many opponents of the Hannaford proposal have said a store that size would be out of character for Town Hill’s small-village character.

Others have supported the proposal, saying that it would benefit residents and create needed jobs. Hannaford, which plans to keep its existing store in downtown Bar Harbor, has said it hopes to build the new store near the intersection of Route 102 and Knox and Crooked roads, on a 15-acre parcel now occupied by Aquarius Artifacts.

In elections, newcomers Jane Disney and Peter St. Germain were elected to the council while incumbent Councilor Julia Schloss failed in her re-election bid in a five-way race. Disney received the most votes of all candidates with 506 and St. Germain was close behind with 495. Schloss received 397 votes while Chris Maller got 305 and James Riley got 139. Bob Garland, whose term on the council expired Tuesday, decided not to seek re-election.

In the school board race, incumbent Paul Murphy bested challenger Matthew McEachern by 24 votes, 460-436.

Voters also approved two amendments to Bar Harbor’s land use ordinance. One amendment expands the jurisdiction of the town’s design review board to include parts of town outside the downtown business district, while the other clarifies weekly rental restrictions.

Overwhelmingly, residents validated previously approved budgets for the elementary school, the local share of Mount Desert Island High School’s operating costs and the MDI-area school superintendent’s office.

According to town officials, 1,105 of Bar Harbor’s 4,131 registered voters, or 26 percent, cast ballots in Tuesday’s election.

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