The Rockland City Council will hold a series of meetings to gather feedback on a proposed harbor management plan that gained unanimous backing of the committee that spent two years crafting the proposals.

The draft plan calls for maintaining the limit on cruise ships that carry more than 500 passengers, but has no limit on ones which carry 500 or fewer people.

Mayor Lisa Weskaemper praised the Ad Hoc Harbor Management Committee for its work, calling it an amazing and comprehensive plan.

She said she wanted to wait to hold public hearings on the plan until meetings of up to 50 people were allowed. She said online meetings are not 100% inclusive.

Councilor Ed Glaser said he did not want the proposal to sit on the shelf for six months.

The mayor suggested a series of meetings limited to 50 people as well as online meetings on the Zoom platform.

No dates for those meetings have been scheduled.

The City Council voted in 2018 to create the harbor planning committee as the council wrestled with the issue of cruise ship visits and a proposed expansion of the Yachting Solutions marina in Rockland.

Five months after creating the committee, the Council voted to limit large cruise ship visits, which carry more than 500 passengers, to six ships a year and can only occur in September and October.

The draft proposal by the harbor planning committee calls for continuing the policy for at least a year after adopting the harbor management plan.

The plan calls for "cruise ship tourism that provides benefits to the City while protecting the natural environment and not overwhelming the capacity of the City to serve its residents and other activities/uses."

It states cruise ships are one aspect of a balance of uses within the harbor.

Other recommendations include:

  • Improve public access to northern half of the harbor and "when feasible acquire appropriate rights or land."
  • Create view corridors to the water throughout the City.
  • Have clean, accessible and modern restrooms at key waterfront facilities.
  • Build infrastructure designed to withstand flooding associated with sea level rise and storm surge during its expected useful life.
  • Community events and festivals are encouraged at waterfront facilities and managed to maintain access to the water for all.
  • Support and prioritize obtaining recorded public access rights to the Boardwalk and pedestrian access rights to Rockland Breakwater.
  • Purchase the land between the public landing and middle pier if available and feasible.