Bar Harbor’s Future Discussed

Comprehensive Plan Committee Holds Two Open Houses

BAR HARBOR—It’s not always the most buzz-worthy of news topic especially when competing with more potential cruise ship visit limits or retail marijuana, but Bar Harbor’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan is an important piece in determining how and why Bar Harbor grows (or doesn’t) in the future.

One of the graphics used at the events

According to the town’s website,

“The purpose of the new Bar Harbor Comprehensive Plan is to reflect and respond to the needs, values, and priorities of the community while safeguarding Bar Harbor’s sense of place, history, and natural resources. The new plan will serve as a guide for future growth and development, covering topics such as land use, infrastructure, natural resources, municipal services, and others. The plan will also serve as a foundation for determining effective public policy, programs, and land use decisions for the future.”

Photo by Carrie Jones

In an attempt to gather input from townspeople about their future, the Comprehensive Planning Committee held two workshops this week. The first was at MDI High School on October 25 and the second was at Conners-Emerson School on October 26.

A crowd of people hustled out of the pouring rain and into the Conners-Emerson School gymnasium, inhaled the tomato, cheese and dough scents of free pizza and then walked between the stations that were set up, ready to give feedback and look at the infographics that had been created by the committee.

Multiple town employees and officials milled about, ready to answer questions. The older attendees seemed to cluster around natural resources, historical and cultural resources, and then the parks and open spaces station, while the younger attendee initially seemed to cluster around the housing and transportation stations. The economic development station had a mix of ages. At each station, there was some information as well as a questionnaire. People can also go to the town’s website (link below) and give feedback.

Photo by Carrie Jones

One woman stood in a cluster of people near a circle of women discussing the potential plans to upgrade and update the Conners-Emerson School and announced, “I’m going to loosen up my pen.”

Photo by Carrie Jones

The Conners-Emerson building project will have its own focused meeting on Wednesday, November 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Conners Emerson Cafeteria.

Stations on Tuesday and Wednesday included: land use, economic development; housing; natural resources; historic and cultural resources; public facilities; parks, open spaces and recreation; demographics and transportation. There was also a less formal station for the school project.

There was a short presentation. Kyle Shank is standing at far left. Photo by Carrie Jones

Surveying the crowd and ready for questions, Comprehensive Planning Committee Chair Kyle Shank said he was pleased with the event. “It’s been a great turnout,” he said and estimated that about 130 people attended both events.

“People are talking and that was the whole point,” he said. “We want to talk to people and to know what they are thinking.”

Councilor Matthew Hochman agreed, saying that he’s always nervous about attendance at these sort of events. “I’m psyched to see so many people here.”

There were some congenial discussions. Photo by Carrie Jones

To add your thoughts about Bar Harbor’s future and complete the forms/questions at the open house, click here and for more input head over here

photo by Carrie Jones


Our earlier extensive article about some of the details in the plan.

The Conners-Emerson Building For Our Future Site.

The Comprehensive Plan’s Executive Summary

Existing Analysis Report

Draft Forum Materials

Comprehensive Plan page

Website dedicated to Bar Harbor’s Comprehensive Plan project.

A recent Polco survey about understanding community challenges.

And a couple extra images for you.

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