Bridge Replacement, Noise Ordinance, Alcohol Permits Considered at Deliberative Session

February 13, 2015
by Jay Hobson

A proposal for a $13.7 million operating budget, an increase over last year’s $13.5 million budget; repairs to the Willow Street Bridge; a proposed noise ordinance; and the question of allowing one-day permits for charity alcohol sales were what brought most of the discussions at the sparsely attended deliberative session on Feb. 3.

The operating budget increase, Article 3, will be on the ballot and had no discussion.

Article 12, to raise and appropriate $2,657,500 for the associated costs of replacing the Willow Street Bridge includes $2,126,000 from the NHDOT State Bridge Aid, $74,804 from the existing Willow Street Bridge Capital Reserve Fund, $175,000 from the existing 2013 Willow Street Bridge Warrant Article and an additional requested amount of $281,696 from general taxation.

Board of Selectmen Chair Ed Gleason described the warrant article as “complex.”

Gleason said that the bridge replacement was a “safety issue” given that there are flooding issues with the bridge contributing to these.

Resident Bill Scanzani said that it was “time to get things done” regarding the bridge.

Article 14 focused on whether the town should create a noise ordinance that will “regulate the making, creation, or maintenance of excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noises that, in their time, place and manner adversely affect and are a detriment to public health, comfort, safety and welfare of residents.”

Police Chief Joseph Roark said that he supported the ordinance.  He explained that as it currently stands there is no ordinance for excessive noise on the books and that if neighbors complain about noise, the police will “nicely” ask the person to reduce the noise.  If there is non-compliance and the police have to return, the issue becomes a criminal one with a disorderly conduct charge that may include arrest.

“This will allow us to avoid a criminal-level charge and keep it a civil matter,” Roark said.

Roark said that the police would not be monitoring decibel levels and that the selectmen would have to give guidance on enforcement.

“We would go on reasonableness,” Roark said.

Article 15 brought up the issue of one-day sales of alcohol that charitable organizations could apply for permits for fundraising in town buildings.

It would include groups, such as fraternal organizations, that would hold an event in which during the event sales of alcohol beverages would take place.

Town Administrator Brian McCarthy said that the warrant article was to clear up confusion around alcohol sales on public property.

NH State Rep. and Pelham resident Charlene Takesian asked if town property also included the Village Green and was told that the article only was for town buildings.

Takesian wrote an amendment to the article to include the Village Green and the amendment passed.  It was included in the article, which will appear on the March ballot.

The ballot portion of the town meeting will include all 20 articles and will take place on March 10 from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. at Pelham High School.