Tuesday night's meeting saw the Selectmen approve a policy that deals with all manners of amplified sound in parks, playgrounds and recreation areas.
After review with Town Counsel, the Selectmen updated Rule 3 of the Rules and Regulations Relating to Parks, Playgrounds and Recreation Areas to include script regarding amplified sound.
The amended section of the bylaw that denies drinking, gambling and other illegal acts while in public parks, playgrounds and recreation areas now includes bans against “solicit[ing] the acquaintance of or annoy another person or utter any profane, threatening abusive or indecent language or loud outcry; or solicit any subscription or contribution […] or make an oration or harangue or any political or other canvass; or preach or pray aloud; or do any obscene or indecent act, except by written authority from the Recreation Committee or their designee.”
Details regarding abutters to public spaces and sound amplification were further defined in the newly written Rule 4 of the Rules and Regulations Relating to Parks, Playgrounds and Recreation Areas:
“User of public property and abutting residents should have an expectation of quiet enjoyment of the town's public parks, playgrounds, recreation and other open space areas.”
Rule 4's amendments express the recognition that the public spaces referred to, “inherently create levels of noise due to customary and usual uses such as fans cheering, referee and coach's whistles, community events, school field days, bands during football games,” etc. These inherent levels of noise do not fall under the ban mentioned above.
It was also mentioned in Rule 4's amendments that, “the use of amplified sound […] is not permitted without a permit to be granted by the Recreation Committee or other agency which has jurisdiction.”
When permitted, the use of reasonable amplified sound will be controlled by the permit holder. Unreasonable sound is determined in Rule 4 as being, “sound plainly audible at a distance of 100 feet from its source by a person of normal hearing.”
It was stated that the intent of this last rule is in special regards to the “reasonable and occasional playing of music or use of amplified sound.” However, it was noted in Rule 4 that this does not include “play by play announcements for sporting events or other repeated use of music.”
The Board of Selectmen mentioned that these new bylaws will be placed up on the Town's website in full in the upcoming weeks.