Vote No on Question 13, CPA Funds for Onset Pier

By OnsetTogether | Apr 22, 2018
Photo by: Lisa Morales

At this point we urge voting “no” on Town Meeting Article 13, Restoration of Onset Pier. The state Community Preservation Act authority has been consulted and expressed concerns as well. The CPA (funded by 3% property tax surcharge) grant applicant is the Department of Natural Resources in the amount of $250,000 under the category of “recreation.” The total cost of this engineering study is $550,000. CPA grants have very specific uses. See the grant application here (obtained through FOIA request) The applicant does not specify any matching funds except for “funds generated from parking, waterways and potential grant sources. The town may seek borrowing or additional actions at Town meeting to cover additional expenses.” Parking and waterways fees already have a designated use without excess revenue. You can’t use the same money twice. This does not assure likelihood of matching funds.

Article 13 requests money for an engineering study for restoration and expansion of the pier. The Finance Committee recommendation discusses the “rebuilding...of a new pier.” The pier cannot be expanded without violating the Decree of 1916 as no further beach can be covered. It is unclear whether the pier is to be renovated per the grant or rebuilt entirely per the FinCom, for $5.5 million. The grant application specifies an “update and repair to an existing town structure” in opposition to the FinCom recommendation which indicate rebuilding of a new pier. State regulation appear to restrict repair using CPA funds to structures built with CPA funds, which the pier was not. Is the pier to be renovated or rebuilt per this study?

The grant application specifies the Town of Wareham as the “owner of the properties.” This may not be the case. The town does not own any of the beach where the pier might expand.

The percentage of the pier’s commercial use and use as Town Office for harbormaster makes CPA fund use questionable.

For these and other reasons we recommend voting no. These funds are not appropriate for this use and the explanations for use are conflicting, unless further information indicates otherwise.

Comments (7)
Posted by: beingnice | Apr 23, 2018 05:53

I would hesitate to vote for anything you support.  I have found your quoting of facts to be suspect and when questioned on your information you either turn unpleasant or delete your posts.  I urge the voters to rely on their own good judgment and remain open minded.  Do not be swayed by someone with an agenda.

Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 23, 2018 09:53

Then counter with information

Posted by: greycat | Apr 23, 2018 11:02

Once again we see a selective misinterpretation of the 1916 decree.  It does not mention the pier at all. 

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Apr 23, 2018 11:42

No one in history has been able to explain how the pier (as seen today) was built at all. It is clearly in the bounds of the 1916 decree (agreed not by name) as is the old Kenny's pier. Now that pier has a history and is grandfathered, but the 'parking lot pier' really changed from an original dock/pier to this wide 'square'. There were no lawsuits taken over this. The State rebuilt this pier a couple of times after major hurricanes, and finally after the last time, it was handed over to the Town. The pier seems to be in a vacuum, somehow in violation of the decree, but at the same time, a great resource to the Town. I find it to be an asset as well.

Posted by: OnsetTogether | Apr 23, 2018 17:09

DrD please see Atty Teitelbaum's opinion on the pier and enforce-ability of the Decree. Of course there may have been case law established in the interim.

Posted by: OnsetTogether | Apr 23, 2018 17:09

Absolutely a great asset. The question before us is a CPA grant to partially fund a study.

Posted by: OnsetTogether | Apr 23, 2018 17:11

Greycat, that is correct! Because the pier was built AFTER the decree and should never have been. By George, I think she's got it.


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