Ordinance Review Committee
4:00 P.M. Monday, July 6, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this meeting was held at the Town Offices and online over the Zoom
Attendees at the Town
Offices: Don Scott and Charles Sorenson.
Attendees via Zoom: Lisa Anderson, Harry Wolhandler, and Carol Ogilvie,
Absent: Jon Miner, Andrea Hodson
- Noise Ordinance/By Law
Don and Carol had previously provided the Committee with examples of local Noise Ordinances and
By Laws. There was quite a lot of discussion about the efficacy of this type of ordinance and whether one such is even necessary for Harrisville.
The problem appears to be that the Police Chief has nothing in writing he can use when he gets noise complaints. The Committee reviewed the examples
and pointed out certain provisions that might make sense for Harrisville, and others that would not. Noise problems in town seem to be largely related
to fireworks, noisy parties and loud music. The Committee considered whether or not to include decibel levels in a by law, or just limit disruptive
noise of any source for certain time periods. Also discussed was whether fireworks should be required to have a permit, or at least notify the Police
Chief that fireworks were going to be set off at a particular time. Enforcement is always an issue, and in Harrisville there is not 24/7 police
coverage. Most complaints would likely come in after hours, meaning the State Police would get the call.
Lisa suggested that the Committee meet with the Police Chief to get his perspective on the salient issues and his thoughts about solutions.
She will reach out to him and invite him to next week’s meeting; in the meantime, she will also provide him with the copies of Durham,
Swanzey and Troy to see if he thinks any of them might work for Harrisville.
Lisa shared the petition submitted last year by Jay Jacobs that did not make it onto the ballot
for Town Meeting: 6.1.3 There shall be a minimum distance of (50) feet
between any structure and the nearest boundary of any public right-of-way. No
structure shall be placed closer than (40) feet to the side and rear boundaries
of the lot. By special exception,
accessory structures may be placed or expanded to a distance of (25) feet to
the side, rear and public right-of-way boundaries. For the purpose of this
ordinance, decks, wood sheds, and gazebos and like structures may be considered.
The Committee has been asked to take this issue up this year. The amendment proposed would
allow accessory structures in the Residential and Agricultural District to be
located 25 feet from the front, side and rear property lines by special
exception; the current ordinance has a 40-foot setback for this district.
The Committee is interested in understanding the intent of this proposed amendment – what is the
problem that this is attempting to address? There are a number of related
provisions that will need to be considered to ensure that any change is
consistent with other sections of the ordinance; for example, all of the
relevant definitions must be reviewed, including accessory structures,
temporary and/or permanent structures. Carol will create a matrix of the
dimensional requirements in all districts as an aid to understanding what the
current situation is and whether adjustments in other districts might need
revisiting. Given Charlie’s strong understanding of the special exception and
variance processes, Charlie will reach out to Jay to invite him to present his perspective on this to the Committee.
Meeting adjourned at 5:25 P.M.
Future meeting(s): 4:00 P.M. Monday, July 13, 2020; 4:00 P.M. Monday, Aug 3, 2020