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Music OK’d at Six Remaining Evening Flag Football Games at Reading Field

Selectmen grant exemption from amplified sound rules.

Music will play at the six remaining Saturday evening flag football games at Hollingsworth Field at Birch Meadow.

By a 3-2 vote, the Board of Selectmen granted the league a waiver of the board’s amplified sound rules. The board approved the rules this past February.

Three of the four residents who spoke at Tuesday’s hearing questioned the need for music at all the games for students in kindergarten through grade six and the amount of sound that emanates from the Birch Meadow fields, from sports to the RMHS marching band.  Another resident emailed that amplified sound on seven Saturday evenings is “intrusive on the neighbors and setting a bad precedent.”

Under the selectmen’s rules, “The use of amplified sound is not intended to be a routine for recurring events, such as play by play announcements for sporting events and other repeated use of music and amplified sound.”

The Board of Selectmen can grant a variance of that rule after a hearing.

Selectmen Stephen Goldy, John Arena and James Bonazoli voted in favor of the variance; Richard Schubert and Ben Tafoya voted against it.

Jack Downing from Whittier Road and Robert Kiley from Tennyson Circle, both area residents and Mary Ellen O’Neil and, by email, Bob Kaminer, objected to granting the variance.

John Halsey, who said he was not an abutter to the field, urged the selectmen exempt the league from the rule.  Today’s players enjoy the “festive nature” of the announcing, with music, he said. The league meets for only six to eight Saturdays, he said.

No complaints were reported from amplified sound at the league’s kickoff game, Carl McFadden, one of the three league founders, told the selectmen. They created the league, he said, because of the concussions that can result from contact football.

Under the amplified sound rules, the Recreation Committee can grant an organization a permit for amplified sound -- once -- which the committee did.

The league will be successful with or without music, McFadden said.

Using a sound system just for announcements, and not music, wouldn’t be worth the money, league organizer Jim Murphy said when the issue came to the selectmen last week.

As part of the variance, the board voted that town Recreation Administrator John Feudo decide on where the sound speakers should be placed, oriented toward the press box and away from abutting homes.

The remaining flag football games are scheduled from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 29; Oct. 6, 13 and 27; and Nov. 3 and 10.

John September 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM
The large majority of Birch Meadow area neighbors agree with you Julie. Unfortunately there is one member of the Board of Selectmen and his wife who have caused this whole uproar. They got their way the first time through sleazy, back door tactics, but thankfully one incumbent was voted out and her replacement has his head on straight. This is really good news for the Bulldog fans!!!
Jerry Powers September 27, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I grew up of Grove Street and I could hear the band play at the football games all the way to my house.
John September 27, 2012 at 03:56 PM
One thing that does confuse me is why the flag football league founders didn't apply for the variance before their league's kickoff game? The founders (at least one of them) was very aware of the amplified sound regulations.
Jamie B September 27, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I used to live in the neighborhood, and know many families that have lived there for 20 years or more - long before they put in the lights that allowed the fields to be used at night. We recently visited one family on a Friday night during a game. Having moved away, I had forgotten how loud the noise could be. I'm not talking about the sound of kids having fun at the park - we had to shut all the doors and windows on a nice evening to merely have a conversation. It's easy to say, "MOVE!" but this noise problem certainly makes the house less appealing to potential buyers. Let the band play, but do you really need to have amplified music for the kids to have fun?
Tom Jeffords September 27, 2012 at 07:58 PM
"Richard Schubert and Ben Tafoya voted against it." Of course they did.

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