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Harpswell facing proposed changes to shellfish, waterfront, waste rules

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Harpswell facing proposed changes to shellfish, waterfront, waste rules

HARPSWELL — Proposed changes to shellfish, waterfront and solid waste ordinances are a few of the items residents will vote on at next month's annual Town Meeting.

While the proposed changes to to the shellfish ordinance will put a greater emphasis on shellfish harvesters' involvement with the marine resources community, Town Administrator Kristi Eiane said Tuesday, changes to the waterfront ordinance will give the Board of Selectmen the authority to create rules and regulations for use of the town wharf, dock or floats.

Meanwhile, changes to the solid waste ordinance will prepare the town for a new single-stream recycling program later this year, Eiane said.

The most significant changes to the shellfish ordinance include new eligibility requirements for harvesters who seek license renewals. After April 1, harvesters must have attended two Marine Resources Committee meetings within the previous 12-month period. 

"I think the intent was to get people more actively involved in the discussions about the management of the resource and the health of the resource," Eiane said.

The proposed changes also define the amount of time harvesters must spend twice each year for their obligated conservation efforts. Harvesters would have to commit three hours per conservation day to meet the obligations of their license.

The age threshold for student harvester licenses would also be changed from 18 to 20. Eiane said this is a reflection of the fact that not all students finish school by the time they turn 18.

If they graduate or drop out from high school or approved home instruction sooner than that, Eiane said, they will no longer be eligible for the student license.

Under proposed changes to the harbor and waterfront ordinance, the harbormaster is given the authority to remove vessels from the town wharf or dock if left unattended for more than 30 days.

However, the proposed changes also give the Board of Selectmen the authority to create rules and regulations to "establish a systematic approach for the harbormaster" to create exemptions for vessels. 

Eiane said proposed changes to the solid waste ordinance will help clarify Harpswell's commitment to recycling as the town prepares for a new recycling program in the fourth quarter.

"The selectmen made a decision that we are going to move to single-stream recycling, so they really try to emphasize that it’s the job of Harpswell to recycle as much as possible," Eiane said. " ... More and more communities are finding that single stream reduces the amount of solid waste."

Town Meeting is from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 9 at the Harpswell Community School, 308 Harpswell Islands Road.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.