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Reading Flag Football League Needs OK for Music and Outdoor Seating Approved at Zinga

Reading Selectmen to hold hearing Sept. 25.

One group’s music might be neighbors’ noise.

Music reportedly added atmosphere at the opening games of a new flag football league this past Saturday evening at a Birch Meadow field, but the league for students through sixth graders needs a permit for a DJ and music at the rest of its games.

Under the town’s amplified sound rules, the Recreation Committee approved a request from the group to use sound equipment once, on opening night.

But under those 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.

Even with a full agenda at their next meeting, the selectmen will hold the hearing this coming Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m., Selectmen Chairman Stephen Goldy told Patch last evening. Abutters will be notified by Friday, Goldy said.

Flag football games are scheduled from 4 to 7:30 p.m.  on Sept. 22 and 29; Oct. 6, 13 and 27; and Nov. 3 and 10.

The “Saturday night lights” games are intended to be a family event, Jim Murphy, one of three local league organizers, told the selectmen.

The league has drawn more than 200 students, according to Carl McFadden, another league organizer, and has a waiting list. Interest is growing, Murphy said, because of concussions caused by contact football.  McFadden’s son suffered a severe concussion, McFadden told Patch Wednesday.

The league would be respectful of neighbors, he said, with the music volume.

“We’re trying to create an atmosphere,” said McFadden. “We’re not looking for a rock concert.”

Selectman James Bonazoli said he couldn’t hear the league from the former Imagination Station site on Birch Meadow Drive, opposite the Coolidge Middle School.

The town’s sound rules define unreasonable sound as “plainly audible at a distance of 100 feet from its source by a person of normal hearing.”

Residents of the Poets’ Corner neighborhood, which includes Whittier Road, have talked about the amount of sound generated at the fields, not just the volume, commented Selectman Rick Schubert.

Amplified sound is not intended to be used routinely, Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner told the selectmen. Beware, he said, of setting precedents.

Using a sound system just for announcements, and not a DJ, wouldn’t be worth the money, Murphy said.

Until the hearing, “We’re going to yell,” McFadden said, “really loud.”

Sidewalk seating approved for Zinga

In other action, the selectmen approved placing tables and seats for 15 people on the new public sidewalk “bump out” outside of 30 Haven St. for the new Zinga frozen yogurt store. The town needs more information in writing before the tables and chairs can be put out. They can remain outside until Oct. 31. Before umbrellas are added to the tables, Zinga owners would have to contact the town manager first, Hechenbleikner said, to be sure the umbrellas are safe.

Bill Kuechly September 26, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I guess there will be "unintended consequences" from McFaddens standpoint now that he has opened the path for others down at Birch Meadow...no more Sunday dinners at mommy in-laws either now that he messed up her bridge partners wishes.
Dave Miskinis September 26, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Peter, can I send you a box of Kleenex?
peter lucci September 26, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Sure you can Dave, but I'm thinking that you're the one that will need the Kleenex when you're done with your buddy.
Laura Savage-Carr September 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Are baseball and football games that bad that they need music for atmosphere?
Dave Miskinis September 27, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Common sense and fun win the day in Reading.

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