TREMONT — Voters here will consider three local issues at the polls on Election Day, Nov. 7.
Selectmen, in separate votes on Tuesday, unanimously approved putting a cruise ship moratorium, harbor management ordinance and a wharf and facilities ordinance on the ballot.
A fourth local issue, a retail marijuana prohibition ordinance, could be heading to the November election as well. Selectmen on Tuesday also approved a draft of that proposed ordinance for consideration at a Sept. 18 public hearing.
On Wednesday morning, Town Manager Dana Reed said selectmen are to make their decision about putting the retail marijuana ban on the ballot after getting input from residents at the public hearing.
Selectmen first considered a draft of 180-day moratorium on cruise ship activity at the end of August but decided not to put it on the ballot at that time because of concerns that the wording would not get the desired result. As written, 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 docked in the town.” Selectmen argued that “docked” didn’t apply to anchored vessels. In that case, they said, a cruise ship could anchor inside or outside of the harbor and bring passengers to a dock aboard a tender as long as the tender carried fewer than 50 passengers per trip. The draft approved Tuesday eliminated the word “docked,” a change town attorney James Collier agreed was acceptable.
An amended harbor management ordinance was turned down by voters at the annual town meeting in May after it was pointed out that one of the amendments inadvertently prohibited commercial fishing vessels from using the one of the mooring pools in Bass Harbor. This has been corrected in the version going before voters in November.
The proposed wharf and facilities ordinance also has had a rocky history. A new version was to be considered at the May town meeting but was pulled from consideration after the Army Corps of Engineers told the town that regulations surrounding the federal dredging of Bass Harbor prohibited a two-tiered system of fees. Fees for residents were lower than for nonresidents. The version going to voters sets the fees equally and is a rewrite of the existing ordinance.
“This ordinance is a complete repeal and replace,” Reed said.
Discussion of the retail marijuana prohibition ordinance drew comments from a resident who questioned the need.
“Why would you not have marijuana sales in town,” he said. “We’re already selling pot in Tremont. Why not benefit from it?”
He was encouraged to attend and comment at the Sept. 18 public hearing on the issue. The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the town office.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit the retail sale of marijuana in the town. That includes retail marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, facilities that manufacture marijuana products, testing facilities and social clubs. The ordinance would not apply to medical marijuana.