Resident petitioning for change in fireworks ordinance

By Beth A. Birmingham | Sep 13, 2018
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Waldoboro resident Ray Perkins, right, listens during a discussion of the town's fireworks ordinance and its enforcement at the Board of Selectmen's meeting Sept. 11. Perkins is circulating a petition for some changes.

Waldoboro — Waldoboro resident Ray Perkins is on a mission to make some changes to the fireworks ordinance in town.

At the Sept. 11 Board of Selectmen's meeting, Perkins said the way the ordinance is written, he believes it reinforces the use of fireworks.

"They are nothing like the fireworks I had when I was a kid," Perkins said, adding that he felt some of the fireworks being set off were more dangerous, loud and damaging. "They're more like bombs."

Keizer said people enjoy the freedom of letting off fireworks and they think the ordinance is fine, but the police department should do a better job of enforcing it when there are complaints.

However, Perkins feels strongly about creating a change in the town's fireworks ordinance or banning fireworks outright, and thus has written a letter to Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to try to get her involved.

Currently, fireworks cannot be set off after 10 p.m. on most nights. On some holidays the cutoff is extended to 12:30 a.m.

Perkins said on one occasion he felt threatened as he was driving home when 25 or 30 rounds, resembling pistol shots, went off near his car.

"I was in sheer terror, because I was sure I was being shot at," he states in his letter to Mills.

When asked by Keizer if he had reported that incident to the police, Perkins said no.

Selectman Katie Winchenbach said she has received complaints from people as well, stating the noise can have adverse effects on people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as animals such as horses.

Resident John Lawrence, who owns a horse farm, said exposure to loud noises is good for his horses, as it desensitizes them and makes them better animals later in life, but added that there has been an escalation in volume over the course of the last year or so.

Keizer said although she appreciates the fact that concerns are being brought to the Select Board and posted on Facebook, such incidents should be reported to the police and Town Office so that enforcement of the ordinance can take place.

Perkins must gather 225 signatures in order to take the petition to the voters.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

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