Hingham: Town Meeting wrapped up

Hingham voters gathered for “round two” of Town Meeting Tuesday night to finish voting on the remaining 16 of the proposed 37 articles.

The first article voted on Tuesday night was the zoning by-law amendment to include language for the location of future Medical Marijuana dispensaries.

The article passed with no discussion or debate.

Two articles later, an article attempting to shift zoning for Body Art Establishments triggered about an hour of debate.

Planning Board Chairman William Ramsey said this subject was brought up in their discussions of Medical Marijuana zoning, linking the two establishments into a category of “adult uses.”

One resident said it is “absurd” to equate body art with marijuana.

Judy Sneath, the only Planning Board member against this article, said she doesn’t think body art establishments are a “public nuisance.”

“Some families might be concerned with body art,” Sneath said,” But as somebody pointed out tonight, they might also be concerned with the windows at Victoria’s Secret.”

Some residents felt the article divided the town between North and South, implying that “undesirable businesses” should be shifted into South Hingham.

The majority of voters did not approve the article, making it the only failed article at Town Meeting.

Some approved articles Tuesday night include Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for 14 town projects and a new Noise Control Bylaw.

Police Chief Michael Peraino says with the new Bylaw, they can now fine offenders rather than arrest them. “No police department wants to arrest their citizens, especially for noise complaints,” he said.

Fines begin at $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and $300 for third and subsequent offenses.

“We’re not going to be issuing a citation going over to someone’s house the first time,” Chief Peraino said, “If we have to come back a second and third time, then they’re going to get the citation.”

Under the Bylaw, “Noisy” behaviors related to construction are permitted between 6:59a.m. and 7:00p.m. on weekdays, and 7:59a.m. and 7:00p.m. on weekends. Domestic power tool noise is permitted between 6:59a.m. and 8:00p.m. every day.

Chief Peraino says a “Noise Disturbance” will be addressed similar to disturbing the peace.

“If somebody’s peace is being disturbed…we’re going to come over,” Chief Peraino said, “When the officer gets there, he’ll evaluate the situation.”

Some residents questioned the enforcement of the Bylaw and how the officers can “prove it” without including decibels.

“As far as proving it, if I have to come back there a second or third time, than there’s my proof,” Chief Peraino said.

Dennis King, member of the Noise By-Law Study Committee, said they will stay together for the next year to monitor and re-evaluate the Bylaw.

 

About Samantha Tracey

Samantha Tracey graduated from Salem State University in 2013 with a degree in Journalism. She has been reporting on local issues in a variety of towns: Bridgewater, Abington, Carver, Weymouth, East Bridgewater, Hanson, Halifax, etc. She says growing up on the South Shore has made it interesting now to be covering news in such familiar places.