Even if you’ve been living under a rock (probably not, but housing has been a continuing problem in Mashpee), you no doubt are aware that Monday’s Special Town Meeting at Mashpee Middle-High School won’t be taking up major spending on the town’s wastewater needs.
The selectmen have seen fit to push that discussion to the Annual Town Meeting in May.
That being said, a number of significant proposals will still be brought forward for discussion and decision.
A couple of them address aspects of Mashpee’s continued housing crunch.
One, contained principally in Article 26, would allow the creation of accessory dwelling units. The proposal would open the town’s door to dwelling units that aren’t the single-family-home default.
The other, principally found in Article 8, would regulate rental units with an eye toward protecting renters as well as the general public. Overcrowded rental units, town officials have found, abuse the people staying in them, and can lead to the disruption of neighborhoods and the pollution of water.
Both deserve support.
For the environmentally minded, Article 4 will prohibit contaminants from entering the town’s stormwater system, a sure route to polluting the town’s estuaries.
In a similar vein, Article 5 will ban polystyrene bags, and Article 6 will prohibit single-use plastic straws.
All represent moves worth taking.
A couple of other things to keep in mind:
Town Meeting, which rolls around at least twice a year in Mashpee, may seem pretty routine. But this exercise of direct democracy on community decisions, policies and spending is fairly unusual in the United States as a whole.
The selectmen who will be sitting on the high school stage do have a lot of relative power in the town. But on Monday night, each selectman’s vote carries no more weight than that of any individual in Town Meeting. You and your next-door neighbor, together, can outvote any of them.
Monday night also will present an opportunity to engage in one of the town’s most worthwhile traditions: bringing non-perishable items, such as canned goods, peanut butter, and bottled juice, to Town Meeting to benefit the less fortunate in town.
All told, it will be an evening worth your participation.