Kennebunk residents overwhelmingly approved a ban on plastic shopping bags and eased restrictions on small inns.

Residents voted 1,480-845 Tuesday to ban all single-use plastic bags, joining a small but growing number of Maine towns with similar restrictions.

The plastic bag ordinance was developed by the town after Sea Road School fifth-grader Bella Rossborough and her classmates released a report on reactions to similar bans aiumed at reducing waste and litter. The proposal bans all single-use plastic bags at all stores in town. Paper bags are not included in the ban, nor are plastic bags used for dry cleaning, newspapers and for meat, fish and fresh produce.

Kennebunk’s proposal is similar to one approved Tuesday in Freeport, although Freeport’s plastic bag ban would apply only to food and grocery stores.

Last year, York became the first town in Maine to ban plastic shopping bags. A number of Maine communities, including Portland, South Portland and Falmouth, have imposed 5-cent fees on plastic and paper shopping bags.

Residents also voted 2,033-302 in favor of an ordinance change to allow small inns in the suburban residential zone to rent up to six rooms. The town currently restricts inns to four rental rooms in that district.

The ordinance change was developed after John and Kathy Daamen, owners of the Waldo Emerson Inn on Summer Street, approached own officials to increase the limit. They say the four-room limit – believed to be the most restrictive in the state – makes it hard to stay in business. The zoning change would apply to the suburban residential zone, which includes the Summer Street area notable for its historic homes, such as the iconic Wedding Cake House. In other areas of town, the number of rental rooms allowed ranges from zero to eight.

The Board of Selectmen unanimously backed the zoning change.

Residents also voted on a number of open seats on the Board of Selectmen and the Regional School Unit 21 Board of Directors.

Richard Morin, a current selectmen, was elected to another term with 1,000 votes. Blake Baldwin, a retired banker, also was elected to the board with 1,142 votes. Thomas Cahoon received 752 votes and William Ward finished with 778 votes.

There are two open seats for three-year terms on the RSU 21 Board of Directors. Emily Kahn received 1,510 votes and incumbent Matthew Fadiman finished with 1,291 votes. Current board member Frank Drigotas did not seeking re-election.


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