Hearing on ordinances draws crowd

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LIVERMORE — About 40 to 50 people turned out Tuesday night to learn about two proposed ordinances that would regulate mass gatherings and special amusements, town Administrative Assistant Kurt Schaub said Wednesday.

Both a mass gathering ordinance and a special amusement ordinance are scheduled to go before voters on Thursday, June 10, at the annual town meeting.

An event that would have 1,000 or more people for six hours or more would be considered a mass gathering and would require a permit, if voters approve the ordinance. Other issues regulated under that ordinance for a mass gathering include public safety, traffic control, noise decibels, and medical, police and fire protection.

Some concerns were raised by residents at the two-hour hearing Tuesday, Schaub said. Some thought that having 1,000 people gathered for six hours at an event was too low a threshold to trigger a permit for a mass gathering, he said.

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The noise decibel regulations were also considered to be too low by some, Schaub said.

The decibels proposed under the ordinance would be 70 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

According to the Maine State Planning Office, that would be the same loudness as a vacuum cleaner from a distance of 10 feet, which would be measured from the property line, Schaub said.

From 11 p.m. to 9 a.m., the allowable decibel level would be 45. According to state planners, 40 decibels would be noise similar to a quiet rural area or a small theater. Fifty decibels would be similar to a quiet suburban area or a dishwasher running in the next room.

All measurements would be taken from the edge of the property line.

The proposed ordinance is modeled after the existing Farmington mass-gathering ordinance, Schaub said.

The only way a permit would be needed is if there are 1,000 or more people at a place for six hours or more, he said.

The noise standard would not apply to anything else but a mass gathering as defined in the ordinance, he said.

The special amusement ordinance would require establishments or events licensed to sell alcohol to get a permit for special entertainment such as live music, dancing or entertainment. An establishment that would use a radio or other mechanical devices to provide music would not require a permit under the ordinance.

There were no comments against this ordinance, Schaub said, but some thought it didn’t go far enough. Constitutionally the town cannot prohibit special entertainment but it can regulate it, he said.

The Planning Board will take up residents comments and decide if it wants to make changes to the ordinances when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, at the town office.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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