- Written by Administrator
- Published: 30 January 2008
Harbormaster Don Beers is proposing that the March 13 Town Meeting adopt a state law that will allow him and his officers to use a non-criminal procedure against people who violate the town’s beach rules and regulations.
With the non-criminal procedure, a harbormaster can write a ticket and fine violators instead of filling out a criminal complaint and taking them to court.
The penalties for violating the beach rules would be $25 for the first offense; $50 for the second offense; $100 for the third offense; and $200 for the fourth and subsequent offenses.
Beers told selectmen at their meeting Monday night that since most violations of the beach rules are minor, taking people to court is not the best way to handle them.
“I’m talking about people doing 10 mph in a 5 mph endangered species area,” said Beers. “It is very difficult to enforce. Most violations are minor in nature and most people learn from their first violation. Now they can pay a fine and dispose of it quickly.
“The court is not the place for these minor violations,” he added.
Beers said that a person can fight the ticket and request a hearing with a magistrate. The third option is to do nothing with the ticket and then it becomes a criminal complaint and ends up in court.
Adopting the non-criminal procedures does not mean that the harbormasters cannot charge people with criminal complaints. Beers estimated that in his two decades as harbormaster he has probably issued five criminal complaints and those were for major violations.
The harbormaster said the harbor rules, shellfish regulations and boating laws are also enforced with the non-criminal procedures, also known as non-criminal disposition.
Selectmen voted to support Article 37.
In other business, selectmen:
*Voted to support Article 20 that would create a town government study committee. Proposed by the Finance Committee, the 9-member moderator-appointed committee would review the town’s general bylaws, its present form of government, and its organizational structure. Finance Committee chairman Frank Mangione said it would also take a look at standing committees and see if any are outdated or redundant. The government study committee would report by Town Meeting 2006. It would consist of a representative from selectmen, fiscal advisory committee, a former member of the finance committee and six residents. Mangione said the last bylaw study committee convened in 1997 and reported in 1998.
*Honored high school senior John-Eliot Jordan with a resolution outlining his achievements in founding the Best Buddies program at the high school and middle school. The Best Buddies program aims to help break down social barriers between special-needs students and their regular-education peers. Jordan, who was recently named as one of the top honorees in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, recruited volunteers, raised money and planned a series of social, cultural, and athletic events that enabled students with and without disabilities to interact and have fun together. “John-Eliot Jordan exemplifies the value of volunteer community service and is a role model to other youth as well as adults in our community,” stated the resolution.