Referendum Resurfaces at “WWG” Meeting Following Planning Board Vote

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Keith Lane, Willis Spear, and Bill Coopersmith at an Earlier WWG Meeting This Year.

“If we don’t get what we want, we will have to look at a referendum again,” said Bill Coopersmith, one of the three fishing industry representatives to the Working Waterfront Group that held its 12th meeting this afternoon. His statement was reinforced by Keith Lane, who said: “That is our plan.” Their statements to reinstate the referendum came during a debriefing session where members of the “WWG” took turns expressing their views on the Planning Board’s recent 4 – 2 vote. The vote did not support protections agreed upon by the pier owners and the three fishing industry representatives at previous WWG meetings.

Willis Spear, the third member of the fishing industry lobby, said:
“We had to do something to help wharf owners cause they helped us. Now we are doing something for pier owners. Cut us a little slack – we need some assurance. To do business on Commercial Street is getting harder. We don’t need that.” Becky Rand, owner of “Becky’s Diner” on the waterfront said that what is decided by the city council affects the whole community – not just the fishing industry.”

A very successful petition drive leading to a referendum was underway to put waterfront changes on the ballot for this month. However, on January 14, 2019 Keith Lane announced that it was voted to end the petition drive. It was done because of the apparent progress by the WWG organized by city manager Jon Jennings. This afternoon the subject of reviving the referendum drive was on everyone’s mind – until it was brought up by Coopersmith and Lane – then it became very public.

Sneaky Steve DiMillo, of DiMillo’s Restaurant on Commercial Street, tried to minimize the disappointment of the fishing representatives. Basically, so you win some and you lose some – that’s life. That after DiMillo and Charlie Pool reneged on an agreement made at a WWG meeting before the planning board’s surprise decision.

“The planning board was a disappointment for the community. Their complaint they didn’t have enough information was sad. I hope the city council has more sense,” said Dory Waxman, a member of the WWG.

“I was disappointed that the wharf owners went back on their word,” said Mayor Ethan Strimling.

On May 20th, there will be a first read of the zoning amendments before the city council. No action is taken then nor public comment permitted. Then on June 3rd, there will be a public hearing on the zoning amendments before city council.

Please see previous posts herein dated January 11, January 3, 2019 and December 28, 2018.

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