APPLETON — The Town of Appleton might be poised to put a big hurt on residents who charge admission to house parties where loud music draws citizen ire.

Nothing’s official yet, but after a discussion not on the agenda at its Tuesday, Aug. 16, meeting, Appleton Select Board members opted to investigate — and possibly clamp down on — excessive noise and attendant parking problems brought to their attention by a resident’s recent complaint about alleged excesses.

The board also acted on an upgrade in the town’s online dog licensing capabilities and approved the new winter road sand purchase at what one member called a “fairly stark increase” over last year’s price.

Based on board comments on the loud party matter, residents could soon see tough new town ordinances addressing excessive noise and what Select Boardman Vice Chair Peter Beckett characterized as “amusement” events. It was Beckett who raised the issue.

The event that sparked the complaint apparently also involved enough cars to block a cemetery entrance, he said.

Although no copy or details of the complaint were forthcoming at the meeting, some board members appeared aware of excessive noise as a languishing issue in the otherwise seemingly quiet Midcoast town of around 1,400 residents.

“It does bring to mind one musical event,” Select Board Chair Lorie Costigan said.

Whatever the details, the town’s Code Enforcement Officer and the Planning Board are already looking into the incident, she said.

Regarding what apparently was a single complaint, board member Scott Esancy opined, “Parking might be the only issue we have here.”

Appleton’s law enforcement matters, including noise complaints, are handled by the Knox County Sheriff’s Department. The county noise ordinance addresses excessive loudness but appears to be enforced only after 10 p.m., Beckett said.

“Until then, put your earplugs in, I guess,” said board member Charles Garrigan.

After hearing the complaint might have involved a pay-for-admission event at a private home, he said the town should first “ask the guy for more clarity about what’s going on.” If that doesn’t resolve things, “We’ll have an amusement ordinance,” he predicted.

Excessive noise, Costigan said, “Is something to look at,” adding it might be time “to get a little more educated on the matter.”

To that end, board member Marci Moody Blakely agreed to research how other towns address excessive noise and for-pay events at private residences.

In other action, the board approved an upgrade in the town dog licensing procedure pending an OK from the town’s finance department.

The new feature to be added to Appleton’s online dog licensing module, purchased last year, will represent “just one more way to try to make it easier for (residents) to register dogs,” said Town Clerk Anita Wellman. She suggested the upgrade and, responding to a board query, said the new module is working well.

Board members also approved the town’s annual purchase of sand used to make roads safer to drive during the winter. On Garrigan’s motion, the five-member board voted unanimously to buy 1,500 yards of sand at $16 per yard, for a total bill of $24,000.

That’s a 23 percent per yard price increase over last year’s and a nearly 52 percent hike in the total sand bill.

Last year, Appleton paid $13 per yard, or $15,820, for 1,216 yards.

This year’s total expenditure is well within the $30,000 budgeted, Costigan said.

It’s also below the proffered deal received at Town Hall. That was for 2,100 yards for $34,000, also at $16 per yard.

Costigan called the price hike a “fairly stark increase…not insignificant.”

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