Harbor ordinance goes to town meeting

TREMONT — An amended harbor management ordinance is headed to voters for approval at the May town meeting.

Selectmen at a Jan. 26 joint meeting with the Harbor Committee opted to forego a special town meeting in favor of sending the ordinance to voters at the annual meeting.

The move was counter to what members to the Harbor Committee had been recommending. The committee called for selectmen to schedule the special meeting in February or early March so that certain changes would be in effect when fishing and other boating activity resumes in the spring.

Despite that recommendation, selectmen voted 5-0 to put the proposed ordinance before voters in May. The board decided to forego the recommendation because the timeframe for scheduling a special town meeting put that date close to that of the annual meeting.

If voters do approve the amended ordinance, the changes regarding mooring assignments and the appeals process wouldn’t be in effect until the spring of 2018.

Before selectmen made their decision, the Harbor Committee made some last-minute adjustments to the proposed ordinance.

One of those changes involved language surrounding the type of boats for which the owners can obtain mooring permits in the federal dredge area of Bass Harbor. The draft ordinance stated that these permits “shall only be issued for recreational boats or for fishing boats.” A question arose about commercial vessels that aren’t used for fishing. Attorney James Collier, who drafted the proposed ordinance, said he understands that the Army Corps of Engineers requires the dredged area to be used by only by recreational and fishing vessels.

“If I’m wrong, you would have to redo the ordinance,” Collier said.

Despite Collier’s advice, the Harbor Committee voted 6-0 to replace “fishing” with “commercial.”

Another change clarifies the makeup of boats using the A pool in Bass Harbor, which is designated for commercial vessels. The committee, recognizing that the A pool includes areas outside of the dredging, approved the addition of a phrase stating the commercial vessel requirement applies only to the dredged area.

In the proposed ordinance, the terms of Harbor Committee members has been changed from two years to three. After concerns were expressed that the amended ordinance didn’t have a process for staggering these appointments, the committee decided to have Town Manager Dana Reed add language to accomplish this before the document goes to voters.


Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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