The Future of Orleans

This is a short, sweet issue of EXIT 89, reminding you that the future of Orleans starts today. So don't forget to vote at the Special Election. Polls are open 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM at the Council on Aging Senior Center.

What's on the ballot? Two questions related to the Fire & Rescue articles and one question for Recreation Department staffing — which passed at Town Meeting last month — need approval of Prop 2 ½ overrides. A sample ballot can be found here.

And while EXIT 89 has your attention, we can't resist mentioning a few other potentially historic events coming soon.

All good things require planning, especially towns. This month and next, you'll have a chance to contribute to our next Comprehensive Plan. The Orleans Town Planning Department will be hosting “Community Visioning Workshops" on Thursday, November 16th, from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at the Council on Aging, and Tuesday, December 5th, from 3 - 5 PM at the Orleans Police Department. The workshops are described as “a public process to set a shared community vision for housing, capital facilities, land use, and natural resource protection,” among other things. According to the flier, “Everyone who lives, works, owns a business or calls Orleans home is invited to participate."

You can find the flier, including details about time and place, here. You can find the scope, project dates, and development goals of the updated Comprehensive Plan in a 21-page document here.

Snow Library Study

While we’re on the subject of the future of Orleans, there’s an opportunity to learn what’s afoot with the Snow Library Feasibility Study that was approved at Town Meeting in May. The Snow Library Feasibility Task Force is hosting a public forum on Tuesday, November 14th at 6:30 PM at Snow Library. Attendees will hear updates from the study’s consultant, see building concepts, and be invited to provide feedback. Details are here. You can sign up to receive updates on Snow Library’s Building Program here.

Feeling out of the Loop?

It’s easy to get dialed in. New features are being added to the Town website, which you’ll see if you scroll down the home page, where News and a Calendar of Upcoming Events are offered. This link will take you to a sign-up page where you can select email notifications you’d like to receive from Town, including emergency alerts, upcoming committee meeting dates, agendas and minutes, and even your personal water usage information.  It’s easy to sign up for notices — and just as easy to turn them off, if you change your mind.

While you're on the homepage of our Town site, keep scrolling down to the November calendar. You'll see that tomorrow, Wednesday, November 8 at 5:30 PM in The Nauset Room of Town Hall, there will be a presentation of our updated Wastewater Management Plan led by the Town's wastewater consultant, AECOM. It promises to be comprehensive and edifying. (Got questions? Bring them!) And at the end of the month, the Orleans Citizens Forum will host its own Wastewater follow-up — "Orleans Big Dig!"— with a progress report on the plan with three experts, including Select Board member Kevin Galligan, and moderated by the Cape Cod Chronicle's Ryan Bray, on Friday, November 30th, 5 - 6:30 PM, at the Orleans Senior Center. (Still have questions? Keep bringing them!) For more information, click here.

Clarification: Yes, Uncle Harvey's Pond is "Privately-Owned"

Lastly, we received some questions about why, in our discussion of Article 32 from our October Special Town Meeting preview, we described Uncle Harvey’s Pond as “privately-owned.” It’s because of its size — 7.5 acres. Under Massachusetts law, when a pond covers less than 10 acres, the private property rights of the landowners abutting it extend to the middle of the pond. So Uncle Harvey’s is owned by its 15 abutters — 13 of whom approved the 2021 alum treatment. (Confusingly, one of the abutters is the Town of Orleans, which owns a small landing on the pond. This doesn’t change the fact that the pond is regarded as privately owned.) Pilgrim Lake is different. Covering more than 10 acres, it qualifies as a “Great Pond” and is therefore owned by the Commonwealth, meaning alum treatment there will require final approval from the State. 

EXIT 89 is an independent publication. Our mission is to help Orleans voters make sense of town issues by providing a clear and impartial overview of the latest developments. We want to help fill the current information gap, reduce the "mystery" of Town Meeting, and promote vibrant civic engagement.

Our hyperlocal digest is researched and written by journalists Martha Sherrill and Emily Miller. Elaine Baird and Lynn Bruneau are the founding advisors. Editing, infographics and tech support are provided by Kazmira Nedeau of Sea Howl Bookshop. We are all residents of Orleans.

Our digest is 100% free — and we aim to keep it that way. Contributions keep us going. If you made a gift to EXIT 89 in the past, THANK YOU! — and we hope you’ll consider giving again. If we’re not yet on your list of worthy causes, we hope to earn a spot there soon. With Lower Cape TV (LCTV) — a 503(c)(3) — as our fiscal sponsor, all contributions are now tax deductible. Donations by a check made out to "EXIT 89" will save us a processing fee. Please send these to EXIT 89, P.O. Box 1145, Orleans, MA 02653. To donate online, click here.

As always, we’d love to hear from you. Readers have enriched our understanding of Orleans — and sharpened our focus. Please share questions, comments, and ideas for future issues at hello@exit89.org. And if you are new to EXIT 89 take a moment to sign up for a free subscription.

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