Meeting Previews: Noise Ordinance Back Before Council Monday; School Bond Workshop Tuesday

by | Sep 22, 2019

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The Town Council formally unveils proposed revisions to the town’s noise ordinance Monday night that would lower levels at the waterfront by 10 to 15 decibels. They will also oversee a public hearing on a proposed local ban on the plastic bags frequently used for purchases at retail outlets. 

The Town Council has been wrestling with how to satisfy both residents and restaurant owners and patrons since it first decided to tackle complaints about noise at the waterfront in March. Blu on the Water, Finn’s Harborside, and Nautika all offer outdoor music from Memorial Day through September. In addition to encouraging the residents and restaurant owners to work together, the council hired a sound consultant to assess the area, take sound readings and suggest some solutions. 

The consultant, James Miller, noted resident complaints spiked when the level for lower frequencies exceeded 65 decibels. The draft noise ordinance revisions appear to have taken that to heart, with the maximum limit dropped from 75 to 65 decibels. But it would also require the waterfront restaurants to cut their volume to 60 decibels at 11 p.m., a 15 decibel reduction from what those establishments currently have. Find the draft ordinance here: Noise Ordinance DRAFT.

The meeting Monday night is viewed as an introduction to the new ordinance. By town charter, new or revised ordinance proposals must have three readings: The first reading is an introduction, the second reading is the public hearing and the third reading provides a final opportunity to vet the proposal. The Town Council votes after the third reading. 

The proposed plastic bag ordinance will have a public hearing at the meeting Monday. You can find the draft ordinance here: Plastic Bag Ordinance DRAFT.

On Tuesday, the School Committee is holding a workshop on the $5 million school facilities bond that goes before voters in November. The workshop, in the library at Cole Middle School from 7 to 8:15 p.m., will offer an overview of the state reimbursement for school maintenance and capital spending; the fiscal impact of the school bond; a summary of the proposed projects; voting information; and how the community can get involved. There will be an opportunity for questions at the end. The school bond referendum will be on the EG ballot Nov. 5 along with a $4.5 million sewer bond referendum. (Editor’s Note: We had omitted mention of the sewer bond referendum in an earlier version. Our apologies!).

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