Two of the design layouts for the mural. People can see what all four sides of the building will look like by visiting the Bethel Area Arts and Music Facebook page. Photo courtesy of Bethel Area Arts and Music.

BETHEL — At the Bethel Board of Selectmen June 14 meeting, Town Manager Loretta Powers spoke on some of the feedback she has gotten regarding the mural project that is underway at the Gem Theater on Cross Street.

“We’ve gotten some complaints and phone calls about it,” Powers said.

The project has also generated a lot of discussion on Facebook.

Co-Owner of the Gem, Wade Kavanaugh, was at Monday’s meeting to speak on the project and feedback.

“It’s a piece of artwork that falls under our first amendment protections,” Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh said that Cathy Lane, who’s heavily involved with the project, combed through much of the comments on Facebook and determined that more than 80 percent of them were positive.

In an email to Town Manager Loretta Powers and Code Enforcement Officer Toby Walker in March, town attorney Mary Costigan wrote that site plan ordinance is not applicable to the mural and that Bethel’s sign ordinance “does not specifically mention murals and also primarily concerns business/advertising signs.” Also in the email, Costigan wrote that “unless the mural includes advertisement of the business, it likely cannot be regulated under the existing sign ordinance.”

Also in March, planning board members unanimously agreed that the mural would not require site plan review.

Kavanaugh said he is open to have a civil discussion on the project with anyone.

In other news, selectmen approved a marijuana store application from David Guay. Both Powers and Code Enforcement Officer Toby Walker said everything in the application was in order.

Public Hearing

Prior to the select board meeting a public hearing was held on a proposed sewer rate change. The proposed change will see a “minimum quarterly base pipe fee charge not to exceed $200.00 ( current charge is $190.00) be assessed, based on a minimum volume of 1500 cubic feet regardless of actual metered water usage below that volume.”

“A rate of $0.18 per cubic foot of metered water usage will be assessed above the 1500 cubic feet.”

The rate is currently $0.16.

The changed rates will be on the October bill, which covers July 1 to Oct. 1.



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