September 12, 2017

New group seeks to block Bar Harbor cruise ship terminal

A new residents association has formed in Bar Harbor to try to block the proposed transition of a former ferry terminal into a cruise ship berthing pier.

The Mount Desert Islander reported the head of the group, Charles Sidman, appeared before a recent town council meeting and threatened to sue the town over the cruise ship plan.

"Our initial line of defense will be legal action," Sidman said, adding the pier "would blight the irreplaceable beauty of our region and Acadia National Park."

In June, voters approved a plan to create zoning to allow a maritime facility at the ferry terminal property.

"My hope would be, after a thorough discussion and a town vote, all of those involved in the controversy would agree that they're going to live with the decision made by the voters," Councilor Gary Friedmann said.

A new Ferry Terminal Property Advisory committee is considering four options for uses at the site: a pier with berthing for cruise ships, a pier with tendering for cruise ships, other marine uses and all other possible uses including outcomes if the town does not purchase the property.

Bar Harbor is Maine's busiest cruise port, with 163 ship visits expected this year up from 105 in 2016.

The Maine Department of Transportation in August offered to sell the town the former ferry terminal for $3.5 million, two months after voters approved a zoning change clearing the way for the town to buy it and develop it for cruise traffic.


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