ROCKLAND — The Rockland City Council took action Monday night on a series of agenda items including approving a one-time waiver for a cruise ship to exceed the passenger limit when it visits next fall.

The Council voted unanimously at its Dec. 12 meeting to waive the 3,000 passenger cap for cruise ships that come into Rockland in September and October one time for the Emerald Princess. The ship is scheduled to arrive in Rockland Harbor in mid-September 2023.

The Council approved the cap in an order in August 2018. There is also a limit of six trips during those two months for cruise ships of more than 500 passengers. Five ships are already scheduled for next fall. The larger ships are not allowed to disembark passengers at the public landing during the rest of the year.

The Emerald Princess can carry up to 3,577 passengers.

Interim Harbormaster Molly Eddy said at the Council’s Dec. 5 meeting that the visit would generate $35,000 in revenues for the city. The city charges $10 per passenger for cruise ships.

“I think it is in Rockland’s best interest to issue the waiver,” Eddy said at the earlier meeting. “There’s a lot of deferred maintenance.”

Resident Tom Marshall voiced support Dec. 12, saying it sends a message of support to the cruise ship industry.

Councilor Sarah Austin said this provides a balance and was carefully considered.

The Rockland City Council also gave unanimous preliminary approval Dec. 12 to ban the sale of flavored tobacco used in electronic smoking devices.

Councilor Nicole Kalloch is the sponsor of the ordinance that will face a formal public hearing and final vote at the Council’s Monday, Feb. 13 meeting.

“No retailer shall sell or offer for sale any flavored tobacco product intended for use in any electronic smoking devices, or display, market, or advertise for sale within the City of Rockland, any flavored tobacco products intended for use in any electronic smoking devices,” the proposed ordinance states.

The city manager or designee will be responsible for enforcement of the prohibition. The manager or designee will issue a written warning to a retailer on a first violation.

The first formal violation after a warning could result in fines of $50 to $100 in a 24-month period. Fines for subsequent violations within the 24-month period could result in fines of $300 to $1,000 per offense.

Portland, Brunswick, and Bangor Councils have approved bans this year on the sale of flavored tobaccos in their communities. South Portland is also considering such a ban.

The American Lung Association of Maine has called for a statewide ban on the sale of flavored tobaccos, arguing that it is an effort to attract youth smokers.

The Council also voted 5-0 at its Dec. 12 meeting to giving final approval to sell 10 Halls Lane to Katherine McKinlay for $7,500.

The property is one-tenth of an acre with a ranch-style house that is in very poor condition. The city has the property and house assessed at a combined $80,600.

McKinlay said last month the house will have to be completely gutted and she wanted to be able to get inside to begin work as soon as possible, noting the basement has a foot of water that needs to be pumped out. The house also has considerable mold that will need to be remediated, she said.

The city acquired that property in June for non-payment of sewer fees. The property has been vacant for at least five years according to city assessment records.

The prices Rockland receives for properties are far less than their assessed value because the city only issues a quit claim deed, meaning Rockland gives up its interests in the property. Former owners could challenge the ownership issue and getting financing is more difficult because of uncertainty of ownership.

In other action, the Council:

*Gave unanimous final approval to approving an easement with the Georges River Land Trust, a move that Councilor Austin said would be the final pieces of a puzzle to connect trails in the Rockland Bog. The city and land trust owns land in the Bog.

“It’s a beautiful, unique thing that we have,” Austin said about the Bog.

*The Council also gave final approval to updating the Rockland Comprehensive Plan. The last one had been adopted in 2012. The plan was developed by the Rockland Planning Commission.

*Approved the Strand Theatre’s use of Oak Street on Saturday, Jan. 21 for a free public winter festival titled the “Big Chill.”

* Approved accepting a $67,500 grant from the Mid-Coast Council of Governments to purchase an Apex Training Simulator for the Rockland Police Department. The simulator that will offer additional training for officers to de-escalate situations.