Wareham Selectmen recommend approval for track resurfacing, bylaw changes at Town Meeting

Feb 26, 2019

Selectmen recommended favorable action for several agenda items on Tuesday night that will go before voters at Town Meeting this April.

Among these were a $200,000 request to repair the Anderson track at Wareham Middle School and potential changes two of Wareham’s zoning bylaws: one regarding front yard storage and other regarding temporary signs. 

The funds to repair the track would come from the town’s Community Preservation Fund if approved by voters. 

Community Preservation Committee Co-Chair Sandy Slavin said the committee agreed to approve the new request with a stipulation that said future maintenance of the track would be done by the schools. The Anderson track was last renovated with money from Community Preservation Fund in 2006. The money is raised through a 3 percent surcharge on property tax bills.

School officials have said they’re looking to spend a total of $500,000 over the next couple years to renovate the track completely and would include future upkeep costs in their budget. The $200,000 would jumpstart the project, they said, resurfacing the track and installing a new, six foot fence around its perimeter. 

Leftover funds would potentially be used to create a new storage facility at the track for Wareham’s sports teams.

This will be the third time that changes to Wareham’s zoning bylaw regarding front yard storage will go before Town Meeting voters.

The revised bylaw seeks to clean up unregistered vehicles and vessels, such as boats, cars and trailers, that have been left languishing around town.

If approved, property owners would only be permitted to have one unregistered item on their land unless otherwise authorized by Selectmen.

“I think this is long overdue,” said Selectman Mary Bruce said.

“It’s regrettable it didn’t already pass,” Selectman Peter Teitelbaum added. “It’s time to clean up our act, Wareham.”

In a similar vain, Town Meeting voters will also be asked to approve changes to the town’s bylaw regarding temporary signs.

Sent back for further study during Fall Town Meeting in 2018, these proposed changes would regulate where and how temporary signs can be erected on town property. If approved, these changes would also affect how long signs can be up and how violators are fined.

Director of Planning and Community Development Ken Buckland presented both of these items to Selectmen on Tuesday night, stating that the new language in both bylaws would be crucial for their future enforcement if approved.

“You can’t just say you want to make the town look nice,” Buckland said. “You have to say how you want to make it look nice.”

Spring Town Meeting will take place on Monday, April 22 at 7 p.m. in the High School Auditorium. A Special Town Meeting, approved by Selectmen on Feb. 12, will follow at 7:30.

Town elections will be held on Tuesday, April 2.