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Court rules Bar Harbor has the right to limit cruise ship visitors

Two large cruise ships are anchored behind Bar Island in Frenchman's Bay off Bar Harbor on Oct. 3, 2022. The Voyager of the Seas, left, can carry more than 3,800 passengers, while the Nieuw Statendum, right, has the capacity for more than 2,600 people.
Nicole Ogrysko
/
Maine Public
Two large cruise ships are anchored behind Bar Island in Frenchman's Bay off Bar Harbor on Oct. 3, 2022. The Voyager of the Seas, left, can carry more than 3,800 passengers, while the Nieuw Statendum, right, has the capacity for more than 2,600 people.

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the Town of Bar Harbor has the right to place limits on cruise ship passengers coming ashore.

A group of Bar Harbor business owners had filed a legal challenge to the ordinance that limits daily visits to 1,000 visitors per day, claiming it violates provisions of both the Maine and U.S. constitutions.

In his decision issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lance Walker ruled that the town's limit on cruise ship visitors is a lawful exercise of home rule authority under the Maine Constitution, and does not violate the Due Process Clause or the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.