Freedom — August 10, 2009 — Freedom town officials are considering a ban on fireworks; citizens can voice their opinions at a Public Hearing during the Select Board’s meeting on Monday, Aug. 24.
The issue was raised by Police Chief Josh Shackford at the Select Board’s meeting on Aug. 3. Shackford introduced his idea by stating that it’s something that Fire Chief Gene Doe would likely support and something that he himself, in the past, has resisted. His thinking on the matter, however, has changed.
According to Shackford, complaints about fireworks has increased dramatically over the last couple of years. He noted that use of fireworks used to be fairly limited to the 4th of July weekend and then they’d be all over with; over recent years, use has expanded to the point where there are fireworks every weekend at one place or another around town, and citizen complaints about the noise roll into his office.
Chief Doe concurred, saying that though he doesn’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, the fireworks are getting out of hand and his concern is the fire hazard and potential personal injury that fireworks present.
The Police Department, under current regulations, has little ability to crack down on private fireworks; action is only possible in response to a citizen complaint about noise. Shackford suggested an ordinance — presented to voters as a warrant article – banning all fireworks, including firecrackers. The Select Board has scheduled a Public Hearing on the issue, to be held during their regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Aug. 24, at the Town Hall.
Shackford informed the Board about two additional items. First, he’d like to post a sign at the end of Haverill Street and facing the Mount View housing development, prohibiting ATVs. Haverill Street starts at the southern end of Mount View, where it intersects with Maple Street; from there it snakes south along the shore of Ossipee Lake until it meets Pauli Point Road, turns sharply left, runs by Totem Pole Park, and ends at Pequawket Trail.
According to Shackford, while both Mount View and Totem Pole allow ATVs, they are not allowed on town roads, and the problem of ATVs using Haverill Street has been escalating. The Select Board directed Road Agent Scott Brooks to install a sign.
Second, Shackford informed the Board about complaints of fast-moving traffic on North Broad Bay Road. The speed limit is 30 mph and when the department clocked vehicle speed, they found that drivers were sticking to the speed limit. Shackford said that “it looks like they’re flying” but they in actuality are driving slowly enough. He and the Select Board noted that in order to lower the speed limit, an expensive road survey would need to be completed and it’s only a problem a few weeks every summer. No action was taken.
Maintenance of Town Buildings
A citizen asked from the floor if all the required repairs to the Town Hall had been completed. The Board had closed the Town Hall in June until safety repairs could be completed and the building re-opened for public use in July. According to Board Chair Les Babb and Chief Gene Doe, most of the repairs have been finished. Doe needs to call back the contractor to work on the upstairs doorway that leads to the back entrance behind the stage, and a ripple the carpet in the ground-floor entrance way needs to be removed.
The citizen commended that work that has been done, such as privacy locks on the bathroom doors to replace deadbolts, and emergency exit sign illumination. The Board was asked if all this work had been put out bid. Babb answered that it had not, because the bidding process is time-consuming and the Board needed to get the building open again soon as possible. Put out bid, the building would likely have remained closed into autumn, which would have made citizens unhappy — for example, the building is booked solid this week for Old Home Week events.
Asked how much the repairs had cost, Babb estimated $10,000. Which prompted more questions from the floor: Do town officials complete a yearly review of public buildings? Does a maintenance schedule exist for town buildings? Is it cost effective to wait for something to break and then fix it? Would it more cost effective to establish a schedule and replace items before they break down?
No firm answers to these questions were achieved during the course of the meeting, but the questions did inspire an informative and heartfelt discussion about the Select Board’s budget-building process, the voters’ budget-approval process, the town tax rate,and the Select Board’s desire to balance town expenses on the one hand with an affordable tax rate on the other.
Some reasonable use guidelines and conditional restrictions common among the surrounding communities might work out better then just making fireworks a locally forbidden fruit. How do we logically explain to a kid that such rules vary depending on where you are on the lake?
The name of the Town becomes more ironic with every law they pass. Isn’t there a nosie ordinance that can be effectively used to tame the issue? How often are the complaints actually related to fireworks in Ossipee, just across the water, and therefore unenforceable anyway.
Freedom, what a joke.
Make the ordinance allow fireworks only for a time period around the fourth of July, and maybe before ten o’clock at night the rest of the summer.
Does anyone know how many cities and towns in NH have banned fireworks, when allowed at the state level?
We at Totem Pole Park do not mind when being compared to other places because we are very proud of our Park and that we operate within the law and in full cooperation with the Town of Freedom. We do, however, prefer that comments refering to us be accurate.
To set the record straight, here is an excerpt from a letter we sent to Chief Shackford concerning ATV’s and Fireworks at Totem Pole Park.
Dear Chief Shackford,
“I read an article in the August 06 issue of the Carroll County Independent discussing Fire Works and ATV’s in which you stated that Totem Pole Park allows ATV’s. Please be aware that we do not allow ATV’s in the Park and actually discourage people from bringing them in. We require that they be transported in and out of the Park by trailer or walked in and out. This rule has always been in effect. We also do not permit Fireworks within the Park at any time due to the potential fire hazard and risk of injury. Our security personnel quickly identify any source of fireworks and stop them as soon as possible. This is also covered by a Park Use Regulation. This letter is not meant as a complaint but simply to update your records and indicate our continued support for the police department and law and order.”
Totem Pole Park
We do not necessarily want to ban Fireworks as they are a great and longstanding American Tradition and unfortunately many of these traditions are now being banned rather than controlled and properly supervised. We do believe that Fireworks can be dangerous in populated areas and when not properly controlled.
Paul Corbin, President
Totem Pole Park Association
They always seem to be a problem in morons hands otherwise they are not a problem. Some people just don’t want to use their brains.
I live across the channel from Ossipee not 75 yards away, over the past few weeks the fireworks have been going off from two homes, I suggest that Freedom see which side is doing it before we make such a decision. Personally if you ban them nothing will stop the noise from the other sides there are two sides to the lake. I don’t know where the Freedom ones are that are going off but I don’t see or hear them in our area near Robin Hood. Elaborate before you make a decision. Also a suggestion allow them on Labor day and Memorial Day and Forth of July. You could also impose a time limit say no fireworks after 11pm. there are multiple options open to review. Many people in town have fun with their families on the holidays and observe normal practices. I will say that after 12am they are a nuisance but they are coming in our area from the Ossipee side. So Freedom better be ready to tell them what to do also or its a fruitless law. Their are two sides of the lake, so ending them in Freedom doesn’t end them 175 feet away in some cases.
just get rid of those idiotic things! What do people see in them anyway? For the past month I have been on Broad Bay and every Friday and Saturday nights several camps on both sides of the lake set off barrages(sp) for hours. I can’t begin to tell you how annoying it becomes. I am also picking up the debris floating in the water and on my beach each morning. Can’t you bozos quietly enjoy the peaceful environment up here and show some respect towards your neighbors but most of all towards wildlife in the area? All fireworks are lame and come on, can’t you find better ways to spend your money?!