Town Council Has 60 Days To Respond to Cruise Ship Plan Lawsuit

Suit also asks for injunction to pause changes’ enforcement

BAR HARBOR—The Town Council brought attorneys from Rudman and Winchell to its meeting Tuesday night so that they could expressly talk about the lawsuit brought by some area businesses against the town.  

On December 29, a complaint was filed in US District Court in Bangor. The complaint was against Bar Harbor and concerns the new daily caps on cruise ship disembarkations at 1,000. The cruise ship disembarkation plan was approved by voters in November (1,780-1,273) after a citizens’ petition put the changes on cruise ship limitations to a vote.

A more complete run-down of that suit is here.  The plaintiffs are a new nonprofit comprised of some area businesses, APPLL, as well as the properties where cruise ships currently disembark and the tenders who transport people from the cruise ships to Bar Harbor.

The plaintiffs argue that the ordinance violates three provisions of the United States Constitution:

1. Supremacy Clause

2. Commerce Clause

3. Due Process Clause

They are asking for a declaratory judgement that it violates federal law and asks the town not to enforce it. The plaintiffs also filed a motion to temporarily keep the town to keep from enforcing the changes. The town has 21 days to respond regarding the injunction, but that time could potentially be extended. The town has 60 days to answer the complaint, which means filing a document with the court that presents the town’s defenses.

Upon the attorney’s recommendation, the Town Council went into executive session. The attorneys also recommended that the council take no action at this session, but think about what is discussed in executive session and ruminate prior to taking action.  

Council Chair Valerie Peacock said that the council’s goal is to do as much of the presentation in public session. However, because it is litigation, some of that discussion must be held in executive session.

Councilor Gary Friedmann asked if Rudman Winchell had the expertise and experience to deal with the constitutional questions involved. The attorneys said they did and had spoken with the council about these concerns previously.

On December 5, the Penobscot Bay & River Pilots Association sent a letter to Town Manager Kevin Sutherland stressing the organization’s concerns with the impacts of the Cruise Ship Disembarkation changes.

During the public portion of the council meeting, Anna Durand, who owns Acacia Inn, stressed that she was not in favor of the lawsuit against the town. Durand said that, “Suing the voters when a decision goes against your choice should not be the new normal.”

“Do not go gently into that good night,” she said, stressing that Maine shouldn’t roll over for industries that might harm the state.


LEARN A BIT MORE HERE:

Bar Harbor Story

Council Updated on Cruise Ship Plan Implementation

BAR HARBOR—At their Tuesday night meeting, Town Council members briefly discussed the implementation of the cruise ship disembarkation plan that was approved by voters in November (1,780-1,273) after a citizens’ petition put the changes on cruise ship limitations to a vote…

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14 days ago · Carrie Jones

Bar Harbor Story

Town Manager Expects Lawsuit Over Cruise Ship Changes

BAR HARBOR—On December 5, the Penobscot Bay & River Pilots Association sent a letter to Town Manager Kevin Sutherland stressing the organization’s concerns with the impacts of the Cruise Ship Disembarkation changes passed by voters this November. The plan limits the amount of passengers disembarking cruise ships each day to 1,000, inserts the changes in…

Read more

a month ago · 1 like · Carrie Jones

To read the lawsuit


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