Design Review Board


The Bar Harbor Town Council on March 16 declared a pandemic emergency and unanimously approved an emergency ordinance closing municipal offices to the public, and cancelling all non-emergency meetings, through at least Monday, March 30. The emergency ordinance can be viewed here.

As such, the Design Review Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 26 is cancelled. It is possible that the Town Council will choose to extend the provisions it enacted on March 16 for a longer period of time, beyond March 30, as that date draws closer. That could potentially affect additional Design Review Board meetings.

Applications are still being accepted at this time, either in the drop box in front of the Planning Office (while the office is closed to the public, the Municipal Building at 93 Cottage Street is open during business hours and the box is being checked regularly) or by email to Staff will then be in contact with you about your application.

This page will be updated when new information is available about what the schedule and process will look like for Design Review Board applications until operations return to normal. This is uncharted territory for everyone — thank you for your understanding.


  • The second and fourth Thursday of every month
  • New applications are due the Thursday prior to the meeting date
  • Meetings are held at 93 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609
  • 2020 Meeting Schedule

Agendas & Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
Most Recent AgendaView All Agendas and Minutes


Additional Information

The Design Review Board reviews all projects which are located within their jurisdiction. Their jurisdiction includes the Downtown Village Districts, the Shoreland General Development I District, Town Hill Business, and the Village Historic District. However, regardless of the district location, any conditionally permitted use or property which houses a bed and breakfast is subject to design review.

Board Process

The Design Review Board must review applications for demolition of structures which are historic, the moving or relocation of a building or sign which is historic, any exterior material change to the exterior of a historic building, sign, fence, or structure. Any new construction of principal or accessory structures, except for single or two family dwellings. Any material change to the exterior of a non historic building, sign, fence, or structure. Any change in existing fences, retaining walls, or freestanding walls, the erection of a new sign, relocation of an existing sign, change of appearance of an existing sign, and seasonal closure of businesses. However, it is advisable to meet with the Code Enforcement/Planning Department staff to determine whether or not Design Review Board approval is required.

A building permit is required for all activities except painting, regardless of approval by any other reviewing body.

Certificate of Appropriateness

In order to ensure the aesthetic quality of Bar Harbor is preserved, the town requires a certificate of appropriateness from the Design Review Board before many changes to the exterior of buildings, or the addition of a sign can be made. Examples of construction or renovation projects that require a certificate of appropriateness include:
  • Demolition or relocation of a historic building
  • Changes to the exterior appearance of an historic or non-historic building including:
    • Windows and doors
    • Williamsburg exterior paint colors - if colors are chosen from the approved design review board color charts (also available in Planning Office) then a Design Review Board Certificate of Appropriateness is not required
    • Siding and roofing
    • Awnings
  • Landscape lighting
  • Construction of a new commercial building or an addition to an existing commercial building
  • Installation or changes in fences or freestanding walls
  • Installation or changes in signage including sandwich boards
  • Installation or changes in outdoor storage or display including vending machines
  • Plans for seasonal closure

Application for Certificate of Appropriateness

Below are links to applications for specific types of projects:

Design Rules