Town Meeting voters defeated an article that proposed building kayak racks at the beach on Shipyard Lane on Saturday after a lengthy discussion on the necessity of the racks.
The article proposed appropriating $5,000 from the undesignated Community Preservation Committee funds to purchase and install kayak racks and necessary signs at Shipyard Lane. In the past, kayaks have been left on the beach and have become a nuisance to beach goers.
Several residents stood up to express their opinion on the article, including Jim Sullivan, of Carriage Lane, who said he did not think it was an appropriate expenditure.
“There are a lot of situations around town that are of much higher priority than building racks for kayaks,” he said. “I think the simple solution would be a very inexpensive sign saying ‘do not leave kayaks in this location.’”
Holly Morris, Community Preservation Committee chair, said the CPC supported the article because it fit within the language of the statue for recreational purposes under the Community Preservation Act.
Linda Collari, of Elm Street, said she often brings her kayak down to Shipyard Lane and takes it home with her after using it. She said she was concerned that more people would start leaving their kayaks on Shipyard Lane once a rack was installed because there would be an established location for kayaks.
Paul McCormack, of Partridge Road, spoke in support of the racks, saying it is difficult to move the kayaks back and forth after every use. He proposed giving the harbormaster the ability to remove the kayaks in the off season, when they are not being used.
Harbormaster Don Beers said the proposed racks would be able to hold 34 kayaks and would be permanently affixed to the ground.
“There would be no fees associated with the racks,” he said. “Upkeep would be voted on here at town meeting and would be funded through the CPC.”
Town Manager René Read addressed liability concerns, saying the town would be exempt from liability because signage at on the racks would read, use at your own risk.
After a voice vote was too close to call, Town Moderator Friend Weiler took the opportunity to utilize the electronic voting devices. While the electronic voting was not used as the official vote, it gave voters the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the process. A hand count vote defeated the article with 80 ‘no’ votes to 40 ‘yes’ votes.