Storage, housing, funding up for votes at Town Meeting on April 22

Apr 17, 2019

Using marijuana revenue to fund a new police station, limits on front yard storage, tax agreements with four new solar farms, and new senior housing are all up for votes at Town Meeting.

According to Board of Selectmen Chair Patrick Tropeano, the warrant is relatively short, with only 23 articles — many of which are the same articles voted on each year.

All registered voters are invited to participate in Wareham’s Annual Town Meeting at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Wareham High School on Viking Drive. The Special Town Meeting will begin at 7:30, after which the regular town meeting will resume.

Many of the same articles that are voted on every year will be decided on by voters, including a capital plan, budget, funding for union negotiations, and funding for Wareham’s share of the Upper Cape Regional Technical School.

Voters will also decide on a number of by-law amendments and proposals.

Police Station funds

Article 7 on the Special Town Meeting warrant would establish a Municipal Facility Stabilization Fund, the primary purpose of which would be to fund a new police station.

Twenty-five percent of marijuana revenues and fees would go to this fund, which would pay for the repair, maintenance, and upgrade of municipal facilities.

Sign regulations

Article 11 would make some changes to the by-laws regulating off-premises directional signs and political signs.

It clarifies that signs directing people to businesses must be on privately owned property, not property owned by the town, state, county, or a utility.

Those who violate the sign bylaw would be charged a fine of up to $250 per day, which would be attached to the person’s property tax bill.

Election signs may be placed 30 days before the election and must be removed within a week of the election, and can only be placed on private property.

Signs in front yards must be placed at least 5 feet back from the street.

Front Yard Storage

Residents may have to clean up their front yards, as Article 12 would change by-laws governing what is and is not allowed in front yards.

Per the amended by-laws, no one would be allowed to have more than one unregistered car, vessel, trailer, or camper outside of a garage or in the front yard without the Selectmen’s permission, unless the property owner has a valid business certificate to sell those types of equipment.

Additionally, items stored outdoors must be concealed by a solid fence or wall between eight and ten feet tall.

Littleton Drive

Article 17 would allow the Board of Selectmen to convey a lot of 12.92 acres of town-owned land on Littleton Drive to the Wareham Redevelopment Authority. Tropeano said that the town is hoping to eventually build senior housing on this land.

Track Resurfacing

Article 19 would use $200,000 of Community Preservation Funds to resurface the Knute Anderson Field Track, located on Viking Dr.

It would also fund a storage unit and add additional fencing.

Easement for Mill Pond Diner

Article 21 is a citizen’s petition to give the owners of the Mill Pond Diner access to the town sewer through an easement on town property.

The diner used to share a septic system with the former owners of the Old Company Store, but lost that access after a dispute between the neighbors.

Commercial Aquaculture Regulation

Article 22, also a citizen’s petition, would require applicants hoping to establish a commercial oyster farm or other aquaculture business to notify all abutters and those within 1000 feet of the license area of that intent through certified mail.

Solar Pilots

Article 5 of the Special Town Meeting would approve agreements for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT agreements) for four proposed solar facilities to be located at 71 Charlotte Furnace Rd., 160 Tihonet Rd., 77 Farm to Market Rd., and 66 Farm to Market Rd. (also known as 299 Farm to Market Rd.

Because there is no state law regulating the taxation of solar farms, many companies and towns instead have a PILOT agreement in which solar farms pay a certain amount to the town annually.

Senior Housing

Article 10 of the Special Town Meeting Warrant would use $650,000 of Community Preservation Funds to build four new units of senior public housing at the Agawam Village site at 57 Sandwich Rd.

Community Preservation funds, which are raised through a 3 percent surcharge on property tax bills, may only be spent on certain types of projects. Spending the funds must be approved at Town Meeting.

To view the complete warrant, go to the town’s website,