HARRISON — The Board of Selectmen wants to change the Mass Gathering Ordinance criteria by reducing the minimum number of participants required for a permit from 1,000 to 500.

The motion at the February 14 Board of Selectmen meeting to place the proposed change to the Mass Gathering Ordinance on the annual town meeting warrant was made by Vice Chairman Selectman Raymond Laplante and seconded Selectman Richard Sykes and approved 5-0.

A second motion made by Laplante and seconded by Sykes was unanimously approved to place the Mass Gathering Ordinance on the ballot for June 11.

“The reason we lowered the number from 1,000 to 500 is because Harrison only has 2,730 residents. 500 is a more reasonable number for an event here and it provides pertinent information to town officials which allows us the ability to plan and have events go smoothly for the health, safety and well-being of everyone in the community,” said Town Clerk Melissa St. John.

The Mass Gathering Ordinance was adopted by annual town meeting in 2002 by voters who were concerned about controlling what they considered to be serious public health and safety problems that could result when crowds assemble. Those issues included waste disposal, potable water, first aid, obstruction and damage to roads and highways, violation of alcohol and controlled substance laws, and destruction of both public and private property.

The current Ordinance restricts any person, corporation, partnership, association or group from sponsoring, promoting or conducting any pageant, amusement show, theatrical performance, or other mass outdoor gathering where there is an excess of 1,000 people for three or more hours without procuring a license therefore from the Harrison Board of Selectmen.

There is a $100 fee for the permit and certain criteria that must be met before the board will approve the license. Violations can bring a fine of anywhere from $100 to $2,500 per day, according to the current Ordinance.

A number of other towns, such as Norway and Oxford, have similar Ordinances.

In other board action, Town Manager Tim Pellerin introduced the town’s new assistant code enforcement officer Jim Fahey to the board. Pellerin said Fahey is a decorated police officer of 28 years with South Portland and has all the necessary code certifications.

The board also noted that they would like to hear from residents who might like to serve on the town’s Scholarship Committee.

The board unanimously agreed to grant the road commissioner permission to post the roads when needed for weight limits between March 1 – May 1.

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