KPort Local Ballot Questions – Nov. 7, 2023

Below is a discussion of  the seven ballot questions specific to Kennebunkport.  A sample ballot may be found at this Link:

Kennebunkport Local Ballot Questions

  • Question 1 asks voters to approve language changes to Chapter 7 and Appendix A of the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

For example, these changes include making sure that mobile home parks/manufactured home parks are included in the plan and expanding the number of strategies the town will use in order to provide residents with recreation and cultural resources, and more. Town Manager, Laurie Smith noted that these are minor and administrative changes required by the state, a full list of which can be viewed on town’s website or by contacting the town clerk.

  • Question 2 asks voters whether they agree with a change to the town’s street opening ordinance, which governs contractor work on a public road.

The amendment clarifies what sort of repairs are required to be performed by a road-repair contractor that does road work, and increases the amount of money that the contractor must provide as a performance bond — a financial guarantee that the terms of a contract will be honored. It also transfers the vast majority of approvals for street opening from the board of selectmen to the public works director.


  • Question 3 asks voters to authorize the construction of a new town hall on a site called the Village Parcel, that runs from North Street to School Street, with an estimated cost of $8.8 million.

It outlines how the town plans to pay for the project. Voters are asked to approve the sale of the current town office on Elm Street as well as a one-acre property at 49 Beachwood Avenue that is the site of the old town garage. Also, votes are also asked to authorize the use of up to $800,000 in reserve funds for the construction. Whatever is not covered by property sales, reserve funds and fundraising will be covered by up to $8.8 million in general obligation bonds.

In summary, Kennebunkport’s current town hall building has become outdated. According to Town Manager, Laurie Smith, “The current town hall has been in use since 1962, and it is on a compact downtown lot, so it doesn’t have the required parking for public business as well as employees.” Smith also noted that the existing building lacks adequate space for town meetings and for safeguarding historical documents.

  • Question 4 asks voters to approve the sale of a town-owned property on School Street that is adjacent to the town’s Parks and Recreation Department and Parsons Field, so as to reduce the need to use bond money for the project.

According to Town Manager Laurie Smith, the sale of the property on School Street was broken out into a separate question because the budget board (8 for 2 against vote), and Select Board (4 for 1 against) anticipates more pushback on the sale of this piece of land, known as the McCabe Parcel, because of its proximity to the Parks and Recreation Department. Breaking the questions into two allows voters to weigh in on this sale separately.

Reasons for a YES on questions 3 and 4:

1) The current town hall on Elm Street lacks adequate space for meetings and employee offices. It has limited parking for employees and visitors, and lacks adequate space for safeguarding historical documents.

2) The location on the Village Parcel allows easier and more convenient access for townspeople and will be an attractive and welcoming addition on an approach to the town. There is an existing sidewalk on North Street, and it will be easily accessible for many of our townspeople who live within walking distance. Several alternate locations were considered by the town committee and the Village Parcel was deemed to be the most cost effective location. Information from the Select Board meeting can be accessed here:

3) According to Town Manager, Laurie Smith, there is a plan to incorporate solar energy although it is not specifically addressed in the current proposal. Smith suggested that there could be grant money available to help finance the solar energy investment.

4) Selling the McCabe property as proposed in Question 4 will help cover some (expected $500,000) of the costs of construction of the new town hall. In addition, the town has received an anonymous gift of $500,000 to be used for the town hall. The sale of the current town hall is expected to offset $1,000,000 of the cost with an expected $200,000 coming from the sale of another property. Also, the referendum asks to use $800,000 from the town reserves.

5) The current fire station on North Street has meeting space that has been used for Select Board meetings as well as for voting. This space will need to be repurposed in the future to accommodate the overnight needs of potential Per Diem firemen. The proposed town hall plan includes meeting space that is expected to meet the needs of the town.

Reasons for a NO on questions 3 and 4:

1) Opponents recognize that the town is in need of new updated town offices as the current space for employees and visitors is inadequate and there is insufficient parking. The main issue for many opponents is that they feel that there is more to be considered and that it is important to address certain concerns, some of which are listed below.

2) The cost of the town hall is high. $8,800,000 is the amount of the bond that will be needed for Town Hall. The amount of the bond could be lowered to $5,800,000. To do this, the referendum asks to use $800,000 from the town reserves, expects to sell the current town hall (estimated to be $1,000,000) as well as an additional property (estimated to be $200,000). In addition, the town has received an anonymous gift of $500,000 to be used for the town hall.

3) Another property, the McCabe property (as proposed in Question 4), could bring in an additional $500,000 to further reduce the amount of the bond to arrive at the $5,800,000 figure. However, some residents feel that the McCabe property should be retained for future use.

4) Some opponents object to the use of $800,000 of town reserves for the town hall. Reserve funds are currently in place for emergency purposes and future capital expeditures. Using $800,000 for the town hall reduces current taxes but will reduce our ability to offset taxes in the future.

5) Recent information presented to the Board of Selectman, indicates that the new Arundel Town Hall was built for under $3,000,000 and it included solar panels that satisfied the energy needs of the town hall, as well as other town buildings. To do this effectively in Kennebunkport would require a much more energy efficient building envelope than what is currently proposed.

Opponents suggest that it makes sense to step back from the proposed high cost town hall and evaluate other suggestions such as those of Kennebunkport resident, Naoto Inoue of Solar Market of Arundel. 

We do not know what the cost to do this would be in Kennebunkport, but some think that we should take the time to at least look at it.


  • Question 5 deals with the Cape Porpoise Pier project, an effort to rehabilitate the commercial pier that supports the local fishing economy.

It asks voters to allocate $710,000 from the town capital reserve balance to go towards the Cape Porpoise Pier project to cover additional labor and material costs. The transfer of these funds would not increase property
taxes currently, although by taking from reserve funds it could result in higher taxes down the road.

  • Question 6 asks voters to authorize an easement agreement — a legal arrangement where one party can use land that is owned by another party — between the board of selectmen and the Green Marine Corporation.

The agreement would allow the Green Marine Corporation to continue operating a marine railway off Langsford Road, which the business has operated for decades. A recent survey revealed that property thought to be owned by Green Marine Corporation was actually the property of the town of Kennebunkport. After consulting the town’s legal counsel, Smith wrote to board of selectmen advising that an easement agreement was the best way forward.

  • Question 7 pertains to the Cape Porpoise Fire Station. Currently, the fire station is owned by the Atlantic Engine Fire Company that leases the space to the town of Kennebunkport.

Kennebunkport intends to buy the fire station for $1, which would mean the town no longer leases the space but takes on the cost of utilities and maintenance.