January 21, 2020

School move opposed> Bar Harbor resident appeals Waldorf plan

BAR HARBOR — Appeals board members will wade through a hefty agenda Tuesday, including a second appeal of plans to move a Waldorf School to a residential area.

The board also will hear from representatives of Criterion Theaters, who are appealing expansion plans of Reel Pizza Cinerama in the downtown business district.

Resident Les Brewer has opposed plans for the Acadia Waldorf Education Association to open a school for pupils in kindergarten through second grade in a residential area. Brewer lives across the street from his location.

Since July, when the organization presented plans to convert a single-family home on Kebo Street into a three-room schoolhouse, Brewer has staunchly opposed the project.

In the upcoming appeal, Brewer claims he was deprived of due process in a previous hearing because appeals board members did not accept a procedural move by Brewer.

Brewer had requested a separate town attorney to handle the matter. Bar Harbor Town Attorney Rick Violette had represented the town at the planning board level, and Brewer asked the town to disqualify him.

Brewer claims that the town’s rules say neither the planning board nor the Town Council are to be considered parties in the proceedings. Because Violette participated in the planning board decision, he should not be a party to the proceedings, Brewer argues in his appeal.

Attorney Lee Bragg of Augusta will represent the appeals board Tuesday night because, by coincidence, Violette will be on vacation, said town planning director Jim Campbell.

The same issue surfaced during appeals board deliberations on the Golden Anchor Inn expansion plans in which Violette represented both the planning and appeals boards.

In other business, the appeals board will hear from lawyers representing Criterion Theaters on Cottage Street. Douglas Chapman and Eileen McGlinchey Fahey appealed Reel Pizza’s plans to demolish a one-story building and construct a two-story structure to house two 110-seat theaters, a lobby, kitchen and art gallery.

The appellants claim that expansion plans for Reel Pizza Cinerama — a theater that serves pizza, snacks and beverages — are not allowed under Bar Harbor’s land use rules. The expansion, they argue, would harm the value of Criterion Theaters’ land and business.

The appellants take issue with the planning board’s approval of the plans as a restaurant because the business is also considered a movie theater. Other issues that need to be addressed include building elevation and lot coverage, parking and signage, they argue.

A permit for the project has not been issued.

The Bar Harbor appeals board session will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, in the Municipal Building.

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