Wareham's future the focus at master plan forum

By Matthew Bernat | Jun 03, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat SRPEDD's Environmental Program Director Bill Napolitano discusses Wareham's master plan on Saturday.

A “good cross section” of residents, business leaders and town officials started revamping Wareham’s blueprint for the future – its master plan – on Saturday morning, according to Director of Planning & Community Development Ken Buckland.

“We had people from the Wareham Land Trust, Board of Selectmen and just regular residents here this morning,” said Buckland. He added that the Saturday session was an experiment to see if more people would be able to attend. Buckland said he was not disappointed with the crowd of approximately 25 people.

Led by representatives from the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD), the two-hour event featured workshops and a general discussion on Wareham specific issues related to housing, economic development, recreation, transportation and other issues the master plan should focus on.

Wareham’s master plan was last updated in 1998. The document serves as the community’s blueprint, informing regulatory changes, land use policies, budgeting decisions and other community-wide decisions. After becoming a full-time director in November, Buckland made updating the master plan with input from the community a priority.

“I’m sure we can climb the highest mountain,” said Buckland, referring to achieving the town’s planning goals. “But we have to decide which mountain we want to climb.”

Saturday’s session took the pulse of the community, he said. Participants discussed a variety of areas, including making the town bike friendly, attracting businesses that pay high wages and promoting local businesses to residents.

John Salerno, co-owner of Marc Anthony’s Pizzeria in Onset, said one area he’d like to see explored is making Onset Village parking friendlier for residents. The parking program was implemented in 2013. That’s when the town put parking kiosks at Onset Pier and at Temple Lot on Union Avenue. Prior to 2013, attendants manned the Town Pier lot and collected parking fees and there was no charge to park in the Temple Lot. Visitors must also pay to park on Union Avenue near the bluffs.

Salerno said he was aware that the program brings in money for the town, but over the years noticed a drop in locals coming to the village. He said the parking issue goes against one of the current master plan’s stated to goals to “encourage economic vitality in existing businesses.”

“I’ve been making pizzas and looking out that window for 30 years, and the area has a different feel to it,” said Salerno, noting that the day before streets were empty, despite the beautiful weather. “It’s hard for me to sell a slice of pizza for a $2.50 when people have to pay a dollar to park.”

He recommended town officials look at ways to encourage more residents to come to Onset in May and June. That, he said, would benefit all businesses in the area.

“It seems like it’d be nice to welcome people who live in town back into the village,” said Salerno.

Claire Smith, who serves as the town moderator, urged officials to not only consider future goals, but how to reach them.

“I think it’s wonderful that we’re coming up with a master plan, but we need to be sure to implement it going forward,” said Smith.

Looking ahead, Buckland said SRPEDD officials will review the comments made Saturday, as well as additional ones that may be submitted on a website devoted to Wareham’s master plan. Those results will be summarized and used to inform the process.

“This is the part of the process I call the ‘path of discovery,’” said Buckland. “We’re going to review then sit down and figure out what the next steps will be to advance those goals.”

For more information on Wareham’s master plan, or to submit comments, visit: www.srpedd.org/Wareham-Master-Plan.

Comments (13)
Posted by: Uptohere | Jun 04, 2017 13:25

I couldn't be at the meeting but I did try to leave a message but that was impossible. I even left a message by messenger which ...to me... Looks like no one read it. I am very disappointed that no matter which way I tried none of the options worked.

Posted by: bob | Jun 05, 2017 05:36

Gee,I thought the town hall was suppose to be shut down Friday to Monday  to save energy....

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jun 05, 2017 07:21

With all due respect to Joe, and he knows I have deep respect for him and his family, he needs to look further than just outside the window. Today there is a huge selection of food from the Bistro at the bridge, to Onset Stevie B's. Like every beach Town up and down the coast there are kiosk and parking fees. Many businesses in those town's validate the dollar. Congratulations to Patrick and Sandy too, they have been trying to get this group together for a few years.  As you all know its hard to hit targets when there are none available. I hope this was taped, looking forward to watching. And uptohere send an email to Mr Sullivan about the non response I am sure he will look into that for you as he has Benn working on making communications better.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 05, 2017 07:52

I refuse to pay for parking in Onset and have yet to do so. If there is a free spot to park I'll stop, if not I will go elsewhere for what I need. Giving property owners exclusive parking rights on the public roads when they choose not to have a driveway in their yard is wrong.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jun 05, 2017 11:38

Sphere, those are 2 different issues, most coastal towns charge for parking, problem here is it was given away mostly for free for years and it's difficult to change that, but in large the program has been a successful revenue generator for the Town. The second issue you raise I agree with you on, they made the parking plan so complicated that I am not sure most people still don't know the rules. We had a very simple plan put kiosk in for the parking just as other towns do. You should bring it up to that group and maybe they will take another look at it again.

Posted by: 181mph | Jun 05, 2017 15:14

i myself am amazed  that sherebreaker even wants to park in onset what with onset now filled with perverts, thugs, punks and vagrants,, but i do have to agree with the parking crap, if you are a resident with a  beach/dump sticker, if that's what y'all still use, i believe you should be able to park free

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Jun 05, 2017 20:40

"Giving property owners exclusive parking rights on the public roads when they choose not to have a driveway in their yard is wrong."


This is exactly why I don't go to Onset any more, although Marc Anthony's and Ace Hardware were the only businesses we patronized.  When the urge for an awesome meat-loaded pizza is overpowering, Marc Anthony's delivers, and so does Amazon.


To avenge their snooty arrogance, I'll watch Onset's fireworks but WON'T CONTRIBUTE.  Hahahahaha!

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 06, 2017 13:04

Gee, with replies like this I'm glad you're not my neighbors...

Oooh wait, you are.

Hopefully someone takes the crayons away and we can get back to acting like adults that pay mortgages, flood insurances, high wind insurance...

Oh, we also pay for one over priced fire department.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 06, 2017 13:17

Cranky, We pay for 2 over priced fire departments and 2  over priced water departments and pay thru the nose we do.

Posted by: PMB | Jun 06, 2017 18:10

That's funny, I live in the Wareham District and I only pay for ONE fire and water district.   How is it that you pay for two?  Unless you own property in both districts, you only pay for one fire district.  You may not like the District system, and that's your prerogative, but let's not spread misinformation about the way they are financed.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 07, 2017 08:52

Wareham and Onset are part of the same Town that WE live in. WE have 2 Fire Districts and 2 Water districts. So WE pay for both of them. Just like WE pay for the schools. WE pay by not having enough municipal maintenance crews because WE are paying for 2 of something that WE need only 1 of.  PMB WE get it you love the district system because you probably are a part of that corrupt system.

Posted by: PMB | Jun 07, 2017 10:52

You have misrepresented the facts concerning the funding of the districts a number of times in this forum.  Yes, Onset and Wareham are one town, but the fire and water districts are NOT part of the town government.  They are separate entities that are funded by the people in each district separately (and I'm quite sure you are fully aware of how the districts are funded).  People in Onset pay for the Onset district, and people in the Wareham district do the same.  NO ONE is paying for both districts as you constantly imply.  You can not compare funding of the districts to the funding of the schools, or imply that municipal maintenance loses funding because of the districts because the districts are NOT part of the Town of Wareham government.


You either don't understand how our local government works, or you purposely put forth false informantion to further your anti-district campaign that you have been on forever it seems.


As to your assumption that I am part of "that corrupt system".  I am not.  I do favor the water and fire districts being separate from the town government.  Personally I would be very much in favor of a merger of the two districts into one.  I don't think we need two separate districts, but as long as the system stays as it is, your contention that we are some how paying double for these services is simply false, and insulting me because I have a different opinion than you (based on facts I might add) isn't going to change that.



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 07, 2017 12:32

District costs are collected as part of the Towns real estate tax bill. It is a tax that we are paying as a property owner. When that tax is high it affects the choices  property owners need to make. One of those choices is to vote down spending for things like municipal maintenance and school items even though they know they really would like to vote for them. We vote them down due to the overall property tax bill being so high. When we do so we are paying a price with services being cut and bad roads thru out the Town. The town and its residents suffer and pay the price for this double district stupidity. We see it very clearly having to spend $17 million for water treatment because we cant drill a frikkin well in someones imaginary district border or make a simple connection to those existing wells, ITS ONE TOWN!  Both districts are bloated with equipment and buildings currently and should be half their size for the calls they actually should roll for.  I again call for the Selectman to demand the districts merge or take them over and purge the oozing blubber out of it.

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