Say 'yes' to managing shellfish farms and Article 39

Apr 29, 2017

To the Editor:

Article 39 on the Town Warrant proposes to require the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board, working together, to develop a Harbor Bylaw to manage ongoing development of permitted shellfish farms in Sippican Harbor.

This Article, if passed, should help residents and commercial fisherman alike by looking not only at the best harbor use and development of shellfish farms but also protecting the rights of the residential community to its use of the harbor. Many of us have attended the emotional hearings on licensing these farms, which pit residents against commercial fishermen. The Board of Selectmen are being put into the position of dealing with angry residents who feel their historic rights are being taken away while those Board members try, on a case by case basis, to allow for permanent commercial development of our precious resource, Sippican Harbor.

Feelings that certain applicants for these farms are getting favoritism and that it's all "who you know" are rampant. The harbor is the most prominent reason most of us live in town and our most valuable resource. All voters in our community should have a voice in this process by helping to plan its future.

Our neighborhoods are governed by zoning bylaws and our waterways should be governed that way as well, to keep in balance commercial and recreational use. Shellfish farms are here to stay. They are beneficial to the environment and profitable to the license holders. They can monopolize our waterways if not planned correctly, so let’s choose these locations wisely. We need to be working together in a positive way to eliminate the possibility of arbitrary decisions, bring transparency, and make this a fair process for everyone and not just for some.

Please vote 'yes' on Article 39.

 

Dianne Cosman

Marion

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