Fryeburg holding meetings for proposed ordinances

By Lisa Williams Ackley
Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Just a few people showed up at the public hearings held by the planning board and selectmen here last week, regarding the proposed enactment of both a mass gathering ordinance and a mobile vending ordinance, and revisions to the existing sign ordinance.

Proposed revisions to the Fryeburg Sign Ordinance include: the prohibition of internally lit signs, neon signs, or LED signs, and includes the requirement that signs be indirectly illuminated; changing the allowable sign area for wall and roof signs from 100 square feet to 40 square feet; changing the total signs allowed per business from five to four; changing the allowable sign height from 25 feet to 20 feet and adding a definition for sign height; clarification on the street right-of-way setback requirement; adding a statement about the repair and maintenance of signs and the requirement that non-conforming signs that are removed must be replaced in conformance with the ordinance, as well as adding standards for discontinued signs; adding provisions related to discontinued signs; adding standards for real estate signs; prohibiting political signs from being placed on town-owned properties; adding standards for “business cluster” signage; revising and adding definitions to make the ordinance more clear; and miscellaneous other clarifications to make the ordinance more understandable.

Mass Gathering Ordinance

A special town meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Fryeburg Rescue Barn on Bridgton Road (Route 302).

Townspeople will also be asked to vote at the special town meeting as to whether or not they want to do away with the $1 per bag system to dispose of municipal solid waste after selling the remainder of the bags the town has in stock.

The final article on the special town meeting warrant asks voters if they will authorize the selectmen to set all disposal fees paid by commercial haulers and Fryeburg citizens for disposal at the transfer station facility on Route 5 (Lovell Road).

Sign Ordinance

At the Feb. 10 public hearing on the sign ordinance, Chairman A.O. Lucy said the planning board had spent considerable time discussing and debating the proposed revisions that should be made to the current sign provisions included in Section 16.N of the Fryeburg Land Use Ordinance.

A second public hearing held by selectmen Feb. 10 took up the Mass Gathering Ordinance proposed for enactment by voters.

According to the proposed ordinance, “The purpose of this ordinance is to control the issuance of permits for mass gatherings within the Town of Fryeburg and to prevent tumultuous conduct, riots, unnecessary noise, nuisances, unsanitary conditions, public indecency, or uncontrolled gatherings which may constitute a threat to public health, safety or welfare within the Town of Fryeburg.”

The proposed Mass Gathering Ordinance states, “No person, corporation, association or any group of any kind shall sponsor, promote or conduct a mass gathering, as defined, or make one’s property available for a mass gathering by lease, contract, or otherwise within the Town of Fryeburg, until a permit has been obtained from the municipal officers of the Town of Fryeburg. Mass gatherings may consist of, but not be limited to: festivals, concerts, exhibitions, social gatherings, meetings and entertainment. Land Use authorization by the planning board for a specific use does not negate the necessity for a Mass Gathering Permit if the use results in the creation of a mass gathering.”

The following events are exempt from the proposed Mass Gathering Ordinance: agricultural fairs and exhibitions licensed by the State of Maine pursuant to state law, as well as the normal and usual accessory camping activities utilized during the Fryeburg Fair; normal and usual activities, including athletic events, taking place on school grounds sponsored by Fryeburg Academy or School Administrative District 72; and outdoor events and festivals sponsored and under direct supervision of the Town of Fryeburg.

The definition of “continuous mass gathering” under the proposed ordinance reads: “A mass gathering, major or minor, lasting for more than 24 hours or occurring on more than one occasion within a six month period.” A “major mass gathering” is defined as “any gathering, attracting, or intending to attract, a continued audience or congregation of participants of 1,000 or more persons for one hour or more.” A “minor mass gathering” is defined as “any gathering, attracting, or intending to attract, a continued audience or congregation of participants of 500 participants but fewer than 1,000 for one hour or more.” Other definitions include “operator” as “the person or group responsible for managing the mass gathering,” and “performance guarantee” defined as “an irrevocable letter of credit from a banking institution authorized to do business in Maine, cash escrow, or other financial guarantee acceptable by the town manager, in an amount set by the town manager or board of selectmen.”

Applications to the town for a major or minor mass gathering permit must include the applicant’s name, address and where the mass gathering will take place; the name, address and phone number of both the property owner and the mass gathering operator; a detailed description of the nature of the mass gathering, including a specific description of any entertainment to be offered, the location to be used, and the times of operation; a descriptive statement about how each of the review standards in Section 3 will be met; a plan showing the internal vehicular circulation within the mass gathering area; proof of the applicant’s liability insurance; any additional information to support the request for the permit; and any additional information as may be needed…in the issuing of the permit.”

Minor mass gathering permits will be approved by the town manager, while major mass gathering permits will be approved by the board of selectmen. The applicant must submit seven copies of the application and all other related and required information to the town clerk, not less than 45 days before the proposed event.

The non-refundable fee for a minor mass gathering permit shall be $50, while the fee for a minor continuous mass gathering shall be $200 every six months. The town manager may consider waiving the application fee for nonprofit organizations.

The non-refundable fee for a major mass gathering permit shall be $250, while a continuous major mass gathering permit shall require a fee of $1,000 every six months. The selectmen may consider waiving the application fee for nonprofit groups.

As to major mass gathering permit applications, the selectmen shall, “prior to granting a permit and after reasonable notice to the public and the applicant, hold a public hearing within 30 days of the date the request was received, at which testimony of the applicant and that of any interested member of the public shall be taken.” The selectmen shall grant a permit, unless they find that issuing it will be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare, or would violate municipal ordinances, or rules and regulations, articles or bylaws. The board may also impose conditions of approval to safeguard the public interest or waive any specific review standards listed in Section 3.

Mobile Vending Ordinance

The purpose of the proposed Mobile Vending Ordinance “is to regulate mobile vendors to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare, while fostering a dynamic business climate that generally promotes an active pedestrian environment.”

Under the proposed ordinance, a “mobile vendor” is defined as “any person engaged in selling, or offering for sale, food, beverages, or merchandise from a mobile vending unit, on the streets or sidewalks of the town; or from a temporary location within the town.”  A “mobile vending unit” is defined as “a moveable cart, trailer or vehicle or other device designed to be portable and not permanently attached to the ground from which a mobile vendor sells their product.” A “traveling vendor” is defined as “a mobile vendor that operates without a fixed location within town, that routinely moves about to sell their merchandise or services. Examples include ice cream trucks and mobile lunch canteens.” A vendor license authorized by the board of selectmen will be required to conduct mobile vending operations.

Copies of the proposed ordinances and proposed revisions are available at the Fryeburg Town Office.

Please follow and like us: