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August 17, 2017

Southwest Harbor temporarily bans passenger cruises

Southwest Harbor residents have voted overwhelmingly to ban passenger cruise ships until the Mount Desert Island town figures out a traffic management strategy.

During a special town meeting on Tuesday, residents voted 119-0 to prohibit vessels carrying more than 50 passengers from disembarking on town shores for 80 days, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The move comes less than a year after Northeast Harbor became the first MDI town to enact a moratorium on passenger cruises.

Southwest Harbor, on MDI's "quiet side," is not as well-known as Bar Harbor, Maine's busiest cruise port, where 163 cruise ship visits are expected this year.

The Maine Department of Transportation has offered to sell the former Bar Harbor ferry terminal to that town for $3.5 million, two months after voters there approved a zoning change that clears the way for a deal.

Bar Harbor authorities plan to redevelop the former ferry terminal for passenger cruises.

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