Council could potentially amend short-term registration ordinance

BAR HARBOR—The Bar Harbor Town Council will meet on Monday, October 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Bar Harbor Municipal Building’s Council Chambers.

During the meeting, the council will allow a public comment period but will also host a question and answer session on the cruise ship management plan’s memorandum of agreement. That document allows the town to enter into individual agreements with cruise lines that will limit the number of cruise ships visiting Bar Harbor during the season, which will now run only from May to October.

The town will also hold a public hearing on changes to the short-term rental registration ordinance and possibly vote to adopt those changes. At the September 6 meeting, the council unanimously endorsed changes requested by Code Enforcement Officer Angela Chamberlain to the short-term rental registration. Those changes are mostly concerning the “life safety inspections and inspection schedule,” and the other change includes text boxes that were mistakenly omitted when the ordinance was sent for publication. Those text boxes are meant to aid the reader in “understanding and complying with the chapter” Chamberlain wrote in an August 18 memo to the council.

At that meeting Councilor Erin Cough asked about historic properties that had past short-term rental registrations and what would happen if they don’t meet the new inspection standards? Some historic properties have restrictions about changing the exterior or interior nature of the property which would make changes (such as egress issues, door sizes, window sizes, stair heights) impossible to do without losing their historic designation.

Chamberlain said that there are currently no exceptions for historic buildings and that Fire Chief Matthew Bartlett doesn’t believe things such as egress windows should be negotiable.

Continuing that housing discussion, the council will listen to a presentation and discussion of a recent report conducted by Steve Whitman of Resilience Planning and Design LLC the same man who is working with the Comprehensive Plan Committee, called “An Examination of Bar Harbor’s Development Process” (September 15, 2022). Whitman was funded by both the town and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce and interviewed twelve people who, according to the report “have extensive experience in Bar Harbor as developers, business owners, or as design and permitting professionals assisting the development community.”

Councilors will also hear presentations from Maya Caines, the new communications coordinator and Laura Berry, the new sustainability coordinator. Both women started their newly created positions about a month ago. Council is also scheduled to enter an executive session with the code enforcement officer to “inform Council on a violation that occurred at 191 Thundermist Road.”

Unlike the rest of the meeting, the public is not permitted to be a part of executive sessions. The sessions themselves are permitted by Maine State statute. The link below lists the permitted deliberations.


Location: Bar Harbor Municipal Building, 93 Cottage Street

Start time: 6:30 p.m.

Day and Date: Monday, October 3

To read the public portion of the packet sent to councilors prior to the meeting and the agenda, click here.

Executive sessions rules per the State of Maine.

Earlier article about short-term ordinance changes.

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