The Mashpee Board of Selectmen was divided on a Town Meeting article that would ban the use of Jet Skis and similar watercraft on Ashumet Pond.
The Town of Falmouth has already passed a bylaw banning the use of Jet Skis on the pond, through which the Falmouth-Mashpee town line crosses. However, the state will not enforce the Falmouth bylaw unless Mashpee passes a similar rule.
“I have just run into residents on the pond and asked them if they had a Jet Ski and they responded ‘we don’t want Jet Skis on the pond’,” Director of Natural Resources Richard York told the selectmen at their meeting on Monday, August 19.
“I don’t have a survey,” he said, “It’s just running into people by chance.”
Selectman Thomas F. O’Hara raised concerns about recommending the article without having formally solicited responses from property owners along the pond.
“You’re restricting the use of the property, I want to know how the property owners on the pond feel,” he said.
“I have no problem with the article but I’m not going to do it unless I know that all the property owners have been made fully aware,” Selectman O’Hara said.
Selectman Andrew R. Gottlieb read an email from a resident of Wheeler Road who objected to the use of Jet Skis on Ashumet Pond.
“I enjoy swimming long distances and during the day I purposely swim along the shore in shallow water. I would love to swim further out, and sometimes I do in the very early morning when there are no boaters other than patrolling fisherman,” Denise Dorado said in the email read by Selectman Gottlieb.
“However, during the day between 8 AM and sunset I fear Jet Ski riders would not see me when they are traveling at such high rates of speed. I’m not saying all Jet Ski riders are reckless but too many are not mindful of swimmers,” Ms. Dorado wrote.
The board voted 2-2, with Selectman Gottlieb and Selectman Carol A. Sherman in favor and Selectman John J. Cotton and Selectman O’Hara opposed. The split vote resulted in no recommendation from selectmen one way or the other.