Lisbon fireworks ordinance passes first reading

LISBON – A proposed ordinance that would limit setting off fireworks to three days a year can’t go into effect soon enough for Wing Street resident Julie Cordner.

Speaking before the Town Council on Tuesday night, Cordner said ever since the state law changed, she has had to cope with fireworks being set off by a neighbor “as early as 8 in the morning to sometimes 10 at night.”

“How do we have a voice in this?” she asked council members. “Don’t we have the right to live in peace?”

Cordner, who said children in her day care are frightened by the loud bangs, said she has had to call police on several occasions, but the neighbors retaliated by using foul language and threatening to file a complaint about her day care business with the Department of Human Services.

The council tabled the first reading of the proposed ordinance at their last meeting two weeks ago, after several councilors said they had heard some residents wanted a less restrictive ordinance.

“We’re going to take a vote tonight,” Council Chairman Fern Larochelle said, referring to the first reading which was the seventh item on the agenda.

Miriam Alexander, chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals, urged the adoption of the proposed ordinance.

“I spent a number of years working with a bomb squad,” Alexander said. “The average person has no idea what these explosives will do. Fireworks going off in the town makes me really, really nervous. I would like to encourage you to pass this ordinance.”

The first reading of the ordinance was passed unanimously. If the second reading is approved at the next council meeting, there will be a public hearing, followed by a vote on the ordinance which, if approved, will go into effect immediately.

The only days that residents will be allowed to set off fireworks are Fourth of July, Dec. 31 and Moxie Days, limited to the hours of 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. The proposed ordinance also prohibits setting off fireworks 100 feet from any building.

Fines for the first, second, third and fourth offense will be $110, $215, $425 and $850.

Resident and former Town Councilor Roger Cote questioned the council about the placement of what he called a “communication tower” for police “less than 125 feet from my front door.” Cote asked if permits were taken out for it and who approved it.

Larochelle told Cote it is a temporary pole, installed as an interim solution to providing better communication for the Fire Department.

Another resident, Gordon Curtis, chairman of the MTM board, questioned the councilors about awarding a bid at their last meeting to Siemens. The MTM building, formerly a school, is now used primarily by senior citizens and other groups.

“Basically, they were not the low bidder,” Curtis said. “I understand they were an hour late with their bid. The lowest bidder was Specialty Services out of Greene, a guy by the name of Andy Witham. He and I spent about two hours at MTM – he had a lot of ideas about how to help us save money on fuel.

“I think you should reconsider that bid,” Curtis said.

Council members did not respond.

Library Director Diane Nadeau gave the council an update on the status of the library since her last report a year ago.

“It’s been very busy since last year,” she said. “More than 35,000 people came through our doors for services.

“I’m sure you’ve heard the gloom and doom stories about libraries, with all the technology today. I’m here to tell you tonight that technology isn’t taking the place of what we do. Patrons are not ready to give up their books, DVDs and magazines.”

Nadeau reported on a number of services the library has, including a preschool program, summer reading program, play groups, and the children’s garden.”

“We’ve had an increase in the number of teens coming in, too,” she added. “It’s become cool again to come to the library.”

Town Clerk Twila Lycette announced there will be a Candidates Forum on Oct. 16

at 6 p.m. at the town office.

The council went into executive session to discuss two personnel matters. Larochelle said there would not be a vote when it was over.

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Comments

Bob Woodbury's picture

The story says...

"The proposed ordinance also prohibits setting off fireworks 100 feet from any building."

Does that mean fireworks can be set off 99 and 101 feet from any building?

Mark Elliott's picture

All legislation has it's

All legislation has it's unintended consequences and removes rights from someone. If you ban one activity because you deem it a "nuisance" you leave the door open for other "nuisance" legislation later......bans that may affect you instead. Always remember, if you decide to take rights away from one group through legislation, you must be prepared to lose some of your own down the road........my suggestion is for the townsfolk to work together for a solution and not rely on government to make the decision for you. With open minds and clear heads, it can be done but you must leave the anger at the door......

Bob Woodbury's picture

From the sound...

...of her neighbor's reply, that ain't gonna work.

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