NEWRY — Newry Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey explained a new ordinance that would appropriate guidelines for nuisance alarms and implement hefty fees to violators.

The definition includes fire alarms and E-911 calls and applies to, “any owner whose alarm system cause the transmission of a nuisance alarm more than three times in a calendar year or a non-emergency E-911 call more than three times in one calendar year.”

Said Corey at a board of selectmen meeting held Feb. 20, “Some of these condos are self-governed in the resort districts. We have already responded to one condominium for four separate different sprinkler leaks, because of the age of their system and their lack of maintenance… along with Airbnb folks that burn toast … that don’t want to deal with it. We are tired of those [nuisance alarms], too,”

“Fifty percent of our calls are for nuisance alarms,” said Select Board Member and Firefighter Tink Conkright.

Corey said it is the condo owners who don’t do any maintenance and the alarms go off three times a week, they are the ones they are after.

The fine for nuisance calls will be $250 with an additional $500 for each additional call.


Unpaid fines will be subject to an additional $100 fine up to a maximum of $2,500.

Fines would be payable to the Town and fine amounts may be amended by the Newry Select Board.

Ordinance Changes

Newry Planning Board Chair Ted Baker  proposed four changes to the town’s United Development Review Ordinance (UDRO). All of the proposed changes are in section 13 of the current UDRO.


The planning board’s proposal would change the definition of campgrounds. “A campground is a recreational lodging facility but a recreational lodging facility may not be a campground. The campground is a subset of the recreational facility,” said Baker.


New performance standards include having a manager 24 hours a day, observing quiet hours, and other operational restrictions.

New language standards include minimum lot size and visual buffers.

Fire suppression

Baker suggested the town remove the provision for a fire pond. “They are not maintained … We currently have several fire ponds in the town which are in a state of disarray.”

“Don’t all new subdivisions now have to be sprinkled?” asked Powers. Baker said the current UDRO allows for three options: sprinklers, fire ponds and cisterns.

“Cisterns require less maintenance. The enforcement of the UDRO is a function of the CEO,” said Baker, “and the fire department.”


Cell towers

Baker said, “we are trying to minimize new [cell] towers …  we are also stipulating that any new tower that is built must be required to accommodate three new providers … it also stipulates and requires provisions for de-commissioning for the tower should it be abandoned. It also places a lot of emphasis on the visual impact on the Town of Newry and trying to restore scenic views.”

Solar Systems

Commercial venture solar farms will be scrutinized going forward with review and approval authority divided between the planning board and the CEO.

He said currently solar farms are not allowed in rural districts. They are limited to the resort development district and general district



“We have several subdivisions that start, stop and are never completed. It is the planning board’s intent to put a stop to that. If we have a new subdivision we want it to be finished as the plan states,” said Baker.

Currently the UDRO says the subdivider can take out a performance guarantee (buy a bond, establish an escrow account or a dedicated line of credit). Alternatively the subdivider can come to the Town and agree to disallow any building permits in the subdivision until it is complete.

The UDRO also accounts for phases, however, each phase needs to have a performance guarantee covering it.

He said previous planning boards’ performance applying performance guarantees is dismal. “We want to make the [current UDRO] a little stricter,” said Baker

The attorney is looking over the new proposals, said Powers.

Resident Brooks Morton asked that the changes be publicized. They are on the Town website, said Corey


A public hearing to discuss the changes will be held on March 19 at 5 p.m. at Bear River Grange Hall. The final vote will be at Town Meeting on May 14.

Other business

An open select board seat and school board seat are up for grabs in June. Nomination papers for school board are currently available; select board papers will be available March 3 at town office. An election to decide both seats will be held on June 11.

Special  meeting

As the select board meeting concluded, more people filtered into the subsequent special town meeting, about 12 people in all, sat in the audience.

Wendy Hanscom, of Newry, was chosen and sworn in as moderator.


Article 2 asked townspeople for $250, 000 to cover emergency road service monies “to get us through this winter.”

“Is that enough?” asked a resident.

“We should be fine,” said Town Manager Loretta Powers, who said she hoped they would eventually be reimbursed by FEMA.

Article 2 was unanimously approved.

Article 3 was to reimburse an overdraft. The revaluation was overpriced, $39,000 would need to be returned to the homeowner. All hands went up; the vote was unanimously approved.

The special town meeting concluded six minutes after it began.

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