KENNEBUNKPORT — Voters rejected a referendum question Tuesday that would have authorized the funding and construction of a new town office. The question was defeated, 886-758.

Voters in Kennebunkport approved Question 5, the allocation of $710,000 from the town’s capital reserve balance for the Cape Porpoise Pier project to cover additional labor and material costs. Dan King photo

Question 3 asked voters to approve the construction of the new town office on a site called the Village Parcel, which runs from North Street to School Street. The project had an $8.8 million price tag, which would have been paid through the sale the current town office on Elm Street, the sale of a property on Beachwood Avenue, and the authorization of up to $800,000 in reserve funds to help fund the construction.

According to the payment plan, whatever was not covered by property sales, reserve funds and fundraising would be covered by up to $8 million in general obligation bonds.

Hope Mowry, the communication and events specialist for the town of Kennebunkport, said that even though the referendum did not pass, the effort to construct a new town office will continue. “The need for a new town hall was understood (by voters),” she said. “Voters were not comfortable with the price tag.” Mowry termed the price tag, “reasonable (but) $8.8 million is not small number.”

The vote underscores the need for the town to work with the public to come up with a different path forward, Mowry said.

Even though they rejected Question 3, voters approved a separate ballot item — Question 4 — that asked them to OK the sale of a town-owned property on School Street to reduce the need to use bonds for town office construction.


According to Town Manager Laurie Smith, the sale of the property was broken out into a separate question so that voters could vote on it separately, instead of lumping it in with the full funding plan for the proposed town office.

Voters in Kennebunkport rejected a proposed new town office. Kennebunk Post file photo

Because voters rejected Question 3, the town will not sell the property on School Street, even though voters authorized it in Question 4.

Public reception of the project seemed mixed during an Oct. 12 select board meeting where citizens were given the chance to ask questions about the full slate of referendum questions.

Robin Phillips shared that she thought the plan was too pricey and had garnered too little community input. Two other speakers, Susan Kagan and Dick Smith, praised the project and its thoughtful building design.

All of the municipal referendum questions, aside from Question 3, passed. There were seven questions in total.

Questions 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 — which did not deal with the proposed town office — passed by wide margins. Each question had over 1,000 voters casting their ballots in favor, and all of them garnered fewer than 350 no votes.

Voters approved minor language changes to Chapter 7 and Appendix A of the town’s Comprehensive Plan (Question 1) and opted to modify the town’s street opening ordinance, which governs contractor work on a public road (Question 2).

With Question 5, voters chose to allocate $710,000 from the town capital reserve balance for the Cape Porpoise Pier project to cover additional labor and material costs. Question 6 asked voters to authorize an easement agreement between the board of selectmen and the Green Marine Corporation. The agreement allows the local firm Green Marine Corporation to continue operating a marine railway off of Langsford Road, which the business has operated for decades.

Voters also authorized Kennebunkport to buy the Cape Porpoise Fire Station for $1. Until now, the fire station has been owned by the Atlantic Engine Fire Company, which leases the space to the town of Kennebunkport. Kennebunkport will now own it.

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