Town tackles bad behavior

Castleton residents may no longer be allowed to cuss or play their music too loud.The Castleton Select Board on Nov. 9 agreed to post noise, disorderly conduct, transfer station and unlawful mischief ordinances, which if passed, could impose fines up to $250 on offenders.

The board discussed only the noise ordinance, which states “any unreasonable noise shall be considered a public nuisance” and “it shall be unlawful for any resident of a premises to allow a social event occurring in or about the premises to produce unreasonable noise.”

“We’re looking at behavioral situations and trying to change behavior,” said Town Manager Charles Jacien.

In a follow-up telephone interview Wednesday, he said the ordinances are “not aimed at just college kids” but targeting “a wide range of folks.”

“I’d like to drop the whole thing,” Select Board member Cristine Smith said during discussion of the noise ordinance. “I think it’s subjective and unable to be enforced. I don’t think it’s a fair ordinance at all.”

The four ordinances will be posted in the post office and town hall. They could be voted on as early as Dec. 14.

Also on Monday, the Select Board discussed the numerous false fire alarms at Castleton State College.

Since the beginning of the year, about 70 false alarms have occurred causing board members to consider a fine system that could cost the school $18,000 a year.

Selectman Patrick Egan said most of the alarms are due to things like “burnt hot dogs, burnt popcorn.” But the problem is a real one, he said.

One of these days the school is gonna burn and nobody is gonna show up,” he said.

Castleton officials realize there is a problem and are working toward a solution.

“We spent the summer researching the issue,” said Bill Allen, dean of administration, in an e-mail interview. “We could go back to having public safety respond to the calls first, but that would require the Fire Chief and Town Manager to sign off on that process. When we met with them a week ago neither was comfortable with signing off.

“If we could avoid the alarms we would do so, fines will not change that, nor will they decrease the number of alarms,” Allen said.

The board and fire officials planned to meet last Wednesday to discuss the matter.

The Select Board also on Monday discussed the design and engineering of a major sidewalk project stemming from Castleton Corners and approved spending $15,475 for preliminary studies.

The hope is to get federal grants to pay for most of the project.

The new sidewalks would run from Castleton Corners to The Bomoseen Inn to the west, to the medical center to the north and to Parson’s Hill to the east.

“A few miles of concrete . . . we’re looking at a pretty large project,” Jacien said.

In other business:

*A request was approved to sell a roll-off truck for a minimum of $12,500 and a pick-up truck with a plow used at the transfer station for $500. Jacien sought to use the proceeds for a new pick-up, but the board held off approval asking for a replacement schedule for all vehicles first.

“A replacement schedule hasn’t been followed in five or six years,” Jacien said.

“Put the truck inventory together and next meeting we’ll discuss it more,” Egan said.

*The board approved closing the transfer station will be closed on Dec. 26.

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