Bonding, local light and sound laws approved by Scarborough council

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SCARBOROUGH — Town councilors on Wednesday passed the bond order for the 2017 Municipal and School Capital Improvements Projects and a good neighbor ordinance.

The good neighbor ordinance adds town noise and lighting restrictions and imposes fines on offenders. For example, someone who mows a lawn on Sunday morning at 7  a.m. could be in violation of the ordinance, but if that same person waits until Monday at 7 a.m. it would be during the hours permitted. 

Council unanimously approved the bond 7-0, after an amendment that removed $687,000 to replace a fuel station for public works, which will go before voters in June.

The $3.5 million bond includes $1.25 million for schools and $2.2 million for municipal services. Among the municipal projects are $543,000 for road improvements, $216,000 to help improve the Eastern Trail and $169,000 for a plow truck.

Among the school projects are $310,000 to replace school buses and $194,000 for technology improvements for K-2 classrooms.

In other budget news, on May 10 the town council and board of education will have a joint budget workshop. The town council also officially set the final reading of the budget for May 17 and the school budget referendum for June 13.

Councilors passed the good neighbor ordinance by a unanimous vote,  7-0. 

The ordinance asserts there are “certain basic standards that allow residents to enjoy their homes and property, preserve peace and quiet in our neighborhoods, help maintain property values and prevent disputes among neighbors. The purpose of this ordinance is to promote these standards and allow for enforcement of violations.”

The ordinance addresses noise and light pollution.

Noise banned in public rights-of-way (streets, sidewalks, etc.,) include fireworks or exploding devices, starter pistols, air guns, BB guns or other firearms, sounding a bell or whistle for an extended period of time to cause annoyance to others, rapid throttling or revving of an internal combustion engine resulting in increased noise from the engine and noisy exhaust systems that does not meet requirements of Maine law.

The ordinance does provide exceptions for noises made during an event for which a permit has been issued – those created by officials on duty and sounding a signaling device allowed by Maine law.

The ordinance also addresses noises in neighborhoods and states, “no person shall make, continue, or cause to be made or continued any loud, boisterous, unnecessary or unusual noises which shall annoy, disturb, injure, or endanger the comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of others.”

Exclusions include bells or chimes from buildings, schools or churches, warning devices, farming equipment or farming activity; sirens, whistles or bells used by emergency vehicles or alarm systems; noise from solid waste collection, municipal, public works or utility projects; and noise from construction or power equipment, including lawn and garden tools during daytime hours.

The ordinance defines daytime hours as 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m.- 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday and between 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. 

The ordinance also addresses items such as excessive barking dogs, other noisy animals, and loud music.

 The ordinance sets penalties for nuisances at $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, $200 for a third offense and $500 for fourth and subsequent offenses.

For lighting violations, fines could range from $100 to $2,500 for each day the violation continues after a person is charged with the violation by an officer. 

Lighting addresses such issues as shining lights directly onto other properties, excessive spillover onto a neighboring property and light that causes glare in the a public right of way that could cause safety issues.

 Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter@melaniesochan.

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