Plastic Bottle Ban

Bottled water fills half an aisle in Stop & Shop.

Mashpee residents will vote on a 28-article warrant at Town Meeting on Monday, October 18.

Decisions about a proposed ban on the commercial sale of single-use plastic water bottles, a proposed solar overlay district off Route 151 and a diagnostic study of water quality conditions at Mashpee/Wakeby Pond will headline the night.

The meeting, which will be held outdoors at the stadium field at the Mashpee Middle-High School, will begin at 6 PM. Town officials have recommended that attendees dress warm for the autumn conditions.

Article 22 is the proposed ban on the commercial sale of single-use plastic water bottles. Submitted by petition, this article would make it unlawful in Mashpee to sell non-carbonated, unflavored drinking water in single-use plastic bottles smaller than one gallon.

The petitioners behind Article 22 have said that single-use plastic bottles impact both environmental and human health. A similar ban on commercial plastic water bottles has passed in 10 of 15 Cape Cod towns including Falmouth and Sandwich.

“Plastics pollute and impact our environment across their life cycle from production to use to disposal,” the petition for the article said. “Ultimately, plastic reenters the human food chain where the adverse consequences are both known and emerging.”

If approved, establishments selling single-use plastic water bottles in violation of the ban would be subject to a written warning for the first violation, a $150 fine for the second violation and a $300 fine for each subsequent violation. The petitioners said more than 1,500 single-use plastic bottles are used and discarded in the United States per second.

The Mashpee Board of Selectmen has recommended by a vote of 3-2 that Town Meeting voters approve the commercial ban on single-use plastic water bottles. The Mashpee Finance Committee voted 4-2 to not recommend that the article pass at Town Meeting.

Articles 23 through 28, which were also submitted by petition, aim to establish a solar overlay district on 40 acres of land south of Route 151. These articles are contingent on one another, and all would have to be approved for the overlay district to be established.

NextGrid, a solar developer, has proposed purchasing the land, which is a former sand mining site, to develop into a solar farm should the solar overlay district be approved. The overlay district would allow the developers to seek a special permit from the planning board to build medium- and large-scale solar systems at the site.

Article 23 is the only article of the set of petition articles that would apply to the whole town, rather than just the 40 acres where the solar overlay district is proposed. Article 23 would apply to any approved parking facility in town and would exempt solar energy systems constructed above parking lots to be exempt from the maximum lot coverage.

The board of selectmen and finance committee have not yet made a recommendation to voters on Articles 23 through 28. The planning board voted 2-2 to recommend passage of the articles that would establish the overlay district.

Article 16 asks voters to approve $350,000 to fund a diagnostic study of Mashpee/Wakeby Pond. The proposed study comes after a bloom of toxic cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, closed the pond to swimming earlier this summer.

The study would determine the nutrient mitigation necessary to prevent further water quality decline in the pond, assess public access improvements and recommend best practices.

Both the board of selectmen and the finance committee voted unanimously to recommend that Town Meeting voters approve Article 16.

Also before voters at Town Meeting is Article 12, which asks voters to approve $425,000 to fund the third phase of improvements to the Ockway Bay Boat Ramp. The improvements would include replacing the 35-year-old concrete boat ramp and installing a scour pad at the end of the ramp.

Both the board of selectmen and the finance committee voted unanimously to recommend that Town Meeting voters approve Article 12.

Article 1 on the Town Meeting warrant seeks to change the name of the board of selectmen to “the select board.” The board of selectmen voted unanimously to recommend that Town Meeting voters approve Article 1. The finance committee voted 3-3 to make no recommendation.

Article 3 would create a wastewater management department, under the direction and oversight of the Town Engineer, to manage the town’s wastewater treatment systems. Both the board of selectmen and finance committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of Article 3.

Article 14, which would ban overnight occupancy of vessels in mooring fields in Mashpee estuaries, is necessary to protect shellfish habitat from potential spillage of marine sanitation devices. The article comes in response to new shellfish regulations that could result in the closure of shellfish beds near mooring fields, if overnight occupancy is not restricted. Both the board of selectmen and finance committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of Article 14.

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