Wareham business owners to face fines for stray shopping carts

Apr 24, 2018

Wareham business owners must take measures to corral stray shopping carts or face $100-a-day fines following a vote at Town Meeting on Monday.

The bylaw was drafted by the town’s attorney Richard Bowen after he reviewed more than a dozen similar bylaws across the country. Under Wareham's bylaw, business owners must tag shopping carts to identify them. Police officers and health department agents will then notify business owners if carts are found discarded. Owners must then retrieve the carts or face a fine.

Before the vote, some questioned whether the bylaw should be studied further.

“When did the Board of Selectmen meet with store owners to discuss this kind of draconian bylaw?” asked Nancy Miller. “There’s other options than bringing a hammer down on their head.”

Voter Sandy Slavin agreed, asking why was there no public hearing before Town Meeting. She also questioned if it was the best use of police officers' time to check roadsides for stray carts.

“I would have preferred to have this out in the open and discussed,” said Slavin. “I like the idea of controlling the carts, but it’s not clear how it’s going to happen.”

Selectman Patrick Tropeano, who spearheaded the bylaw, said carts have been a problem for years. This was an example of local leaders attempting to address the issue in a swift manner, he said.

“This is just trying to get people to take control of their carts so they don’t end up on the sides of roads and in ditches,” said Tropeano. “It seems government needs to be proactive and work a little faster than it does.”