Meetings to focus on Chesterville fireworks ordinance
CHESTERVILLE - Town officials hope to utilize a workshop and public hearing to fully develop a fireworks ordinance before sending it to the voters at the next annual town meeting.
Residents voted to have the planning board develop a fireworks ordinance at the 2013 town meeting, after a citizen petition added the question to the warrant. The issue arose after a local woman lost livestock when they became spooked by nearby fireworks.
The draft version of the ordinance would establish setbacks for the use of fireworks, according to Code Enforcement Officer Brenda Medcoff. Fireworks could not be set off within 210 feet of a property line, or 300 feet of a residential structure. Additionally, fireworks could not be set off within 600 feet of livestock, or a building used to house livestock. These setbacks could be waived through written permission from the property owner, Medcoff noted.
"We've gone over the numbers quite a bit," Medcoff said of the setback distances. "We need to spend time on the enforcement end of it."
Enforcing a fireworks ordinance in Chesterville might be more difficult than in other towns that have created ordinances, such as Wilton or Jay, due to the lack of a local police force. The draft ordinance does include penalties, Medcoff said, ranging from written warnings to fines to potentially losing the ability to set fireworks off within town limits.
A workshop will be held on Jan. 23, beginning at 7 p.m., with a public hearing to be held on Jan. 30. Medcoff noted that the planning board hoped to see a strong turnout at both meetings in order to garner public comment and feedback on the ordinance.
Additionally, the board will be considering an amendment to the town's new Water Quality Ordinance. The amendment deals with Section J of the ordinance, clarifying rules governing existing, non-conforming gravel pits.
Both the fireworks ordinance and the amendment to the Water Quality Ordinance would need to be approved by residents at a town meeting.