Design Review Board


  • The second Thursday of every month, as well as the fourth Thursday (March-June)
  • 2023 meeting schedule (please note start time of 4 PM)
  • The Design Review Overlay District includes all properties subject to the board's review. The Design Review Overlay District map is linked here.
  • New applications are due the Thursday prior to the meeting date
  • Meetings are held at 93 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609
  • Meetings may have a Zoom participation option. If a meeting is held in a hybrid format, it will be posted on this webpage by at least the Monday before the meeting.
  • Any member of the public can watch the meetings on Town Hill Streams

Agendas & Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.

Most Recent Agenda | View All Agendas and Minutes

Next meeting:

Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 4:00 PM - Workshop

This meeting will be held in-person. The in-person option is located in the Council Chambers at 93 Cottage Street, Bar Harbor. 

Discuss potential changes to Article XIII Design Review.


Contact the Design Review Board:

Email the entire Design Review Board at

Please note: Sending an email to this address will go to all members of the Design Review Board listed below, as well as town staff members in the Planning and Code Enforcement office: Planning Director Michele Gagnon, Code Enforcement Officer Angela Chamberlain, Deputy Code Enforcement Officer Mike Gurtler, Housing and Community Planner Cali Martinez, and Administrative Assistant Tammy DesJardin.

If the message relates to a particular application before the Design Review Board, that email will also be provided to the applicant. Any message sent to this email address is also considered a public record and may be subject to a request under the Maine Freedom of Access Act. Information that you wish to keep confidential should not be included in email correspondence to this address.

Contact information for individual Design Review Board members is not provided, as anything sent to individual member(s) of the board and not all parties involved in the review of a particular application would constitute ex parte communication.


  • Barbara Sassaman, Chair
    Term expires 2026
  • Vacancy
    Term expires 2024
  • Francis "Pancho" Cole, Vice Chair
    Term expires 2024
  • Mike Rogers
    Term expires 2025
  • Kate Macko
    Term expires 2025
  • Andrea Lepcio, Secretary
    Term expires 2026
  • Erin Cough
    Term expires 2023

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:

Use the UPDATED application cover page for all the below applications (click here to download the cover page).

Design Rules:

Remote Participation:

The Design Review Board has adopted a policy allowing for remote participation, as allowed under state law. A copy of that policy is available here.

At this time, due to the urgent issue of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the declarations of a public health emergency by both the US and Maine departments of Health & Human Services, that remote participation policy is in force and the Design Review Board is conducting all its meetings fully remotely. Please contact the Planning & Code Enforcement office at (207) 288-3329 if you have questions about this.