New Plan for Winter Parking

Public Hearing Set for November 15 About Potential Changes

BAR HARBOR—Cars might be able to park overnight on the streets of Bar Harbor this winter.

At its October 18 meeting, the Bar Harbor Town Council moved forward with changes to the town’s Vehicles and Traffic Ordinance Amendment, which currently specifies that there is “no overnight parking” in Bar Harbor. They’ve scheduled the potential change for a public hearing November 15 during the next regular council meeting (November 1 is a workshop).

According to an October 12 memo written by Police Chief Willis, at the request of Council Vice Chairman Matthew Hochman, Willis looked into ways “to improve upon the town’s on-street parking ban during the winter months.” Willis wrote that both he and the town’s Public Works Director Bethany Leavitt find these changes “feasible.”

a.     Residents and visitors apply for free winter overnight parking permit via the town’s IPS system. Permit holders would have to have “an actively monitored email account” so that messages about parking would be received in a timely manner.

b.     The permit would then enable holder to leave vehicles in parking lots and public streets overnight.

c.     When snow removal is necessary, the system would alert overnight parking permit holders that “parking will not be allowed during the anticipated snow removal days and times in named places.”

For those changes to occur the town’s Vehicles and Traffic Ordinance and Permit and Paid Parking Policy would both need to be updated, which is why the change has to go before a public hearing. Currently, there is no mechanism for updating vehicle owners who have parked on streets via text. That notification was one of Councilor Gary Friedmann’s concerns. He was also worried that people who see cars parked on the streets in the winter months might assume that there was no permit needed.

Chief Willis said it would cost the town a “couple hundred dollars” to implement the change and that they could post signs about the winter parking much like they have signs about parking the rest of the year.

The parking ban has existed in winter to allow the town’s public works department to clear snow from the streets.

To read the potential changes in the ordinance and Chief Willis’ memo, head to the town council packet, pages 69-73.

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