TREMONT — Voters here are to consider four local issues, including enacting an ordinance banning commercial marijuana activities and a moratorium on cruise ships, along with four statewide referendum questions on Tuesday, Election Day.
Polls will be open at the town office from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If voters give their approval, the marijuana ordinance would ban retail marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, facilities that manufacture marijuana products, testing facilities and social clubs in the town. It also would prohibit a person or organization from developing or operating “a business that engages in retail or wholesale sales of a retail marijuana product” as defined by state law. The ordinance would not apply to medical marijuana.
Selectmen in September voted 3-2 to put the question before voters after Town Manager Dana Reed suggested that the town’s zoning ordinances were not adequate to address commercial marijuana businesses made possible by a statewide vote last fall to legalize the drug.
Comments at public hearings on the issue have been split between those who think commercial sales would benefit the town economically and those who feel allowing the sale of the drug would send the wrong message to young people.
There was no opposition to the proposed cruise ship moratorium at public hearings. The moratorium was initiated in response to the planned visit of the 310-foot-long 210-passenger ship Pearl Mist to Southwest Harbor in September. The ship’s owner, Pearl Seas Cruises, was proposing to anchor outside of the town’s harbor and bring passengers aboard a 36-foot tender to Beal’s Lobster Pier, where they would board buses and tour Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.
After Southwest Harbor residents voted in September to impose a moratorium on cruise ships, the Harbor Committee in Tremont requested that selectmen put a moratorium before voters there.
If adopted, the moratorium would apply to any new cruise ship activity “including, but not limited to, the loading or off-loading of 50 or more passengers from vessels in the town.”
Voters also are being asked to consider an amended harbor management ordinance and a new wharf and facilities ordinance.
The harbor management ordinance going before voters corrects a mistake in a version that was on the annual town meeting warrant in May. Voters at that meeting turned down adoption after it was pointed out that one of the changes inadvertently prohibited commercial fishing vessels from using the A mooring pool in Bass Harbor.
The major changes in the wharf and facilities ordinance involve the fee structure for permits for use of the Bernard Wharf. The former two-tiered system where nonresident fees were higher than fees for residents was eliminated after town officials were made aware that federal regulations tied to the dredging of Bass Harbor prohibited that system. The version going before voters Tuesday sets the fees equally and is a rewrite of the existing ordinance.
If voters approve, owners of vessels up to 50 feet in length are to pay $14.50 per foot of length for a permit to use the Bernard facility. Owners of vessels larger than 50 feet would pay $27 per foot. Under the current ordinance, the fee for nonresidents is set at twice the amount per foot as for residents.
Two tiers of fees remain in use for the Seal Cove ramp, which isn’t subject to the federal regulations. Residents are to pay $200 per commercial fishing vessel and its dinghy. Nonresidents would pay twice that amount.