Town of Castleton passes bad behavior ordinances

The town ordinances proposed last fall to curb bad behavior in Castleton have become a reality.The Select Board on Dec. 14 voted and passed four ordinances governing noise, disorderly conduct, unlawful mischief and the transfer station. At the time of the vote there were no members of the public present.

The noise ordinance, which at an earlier meeting was discussed the most, passed 4-1 with only Select Board member Cristine Smith in opposition.

“I was opposed because it’s too subjective, unless you’re going to have something like a decimal rating to measure the noise. I felt the same about the disorderly conduct,” said Smith in a recent telephone interview.

The disorderly conduct ordinance passed 3-2 with Smith and board member Wayne Renfro voting against it; while the unlawful mischief and transfer station ordinances passed without opposition.

Chairman of the board, Thomas Ettori, in a telephone interview said he was in favor of all the ordinances because it will be “easier on police officers” and “because it’s more enforceable.”

The issues under the ordinances are already enforced by state law, but having local ordinances gives the town’s grand juror the ability to have the final say and give quick tickets with fines handed to the property owner. The noise ordinance states “a civil penalty of not more than $150 per violation may be imposed for violation of this ordinance.”

The grand juror, Gary Boutin, was supportive of the ordinances.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Boutin said. “It’s good for the police department; it will save police 3-4 hours per event.”

It’s also good for the defendant because municipal fines are less than under state law.

In a recent telephone interview Town Manager, Charles Jacien, said these ordinances will “make fines and penalties more immediate” and to his knowledge no tickets have been issued. He also said the police and the constable will determine what a violation is.

Jacien stated it was a coincidence that the ordinances targeting bad behavior were passed while college students were on break.

“It’s been a matter of discussion for quite some time . . . everyone had plenty of time,” said Jacien.

Castleton State College senior, Jessica Lourie, voiced her opinion on the noise ordinance.

“I think it’s ambiguous as to what is too loud. What I think is too loud might not be the same as what the police or constable think is too loud,” Lourie said.

CSC student Justin Jackson also found problems with the ordinances.

“I think some of these ordinances are a little bit extreme. I think Section 3c of the disorderly conduct ordinance is a violation of my constitutional rights,” said Jackson. “I think the elders in Castleton have a serious problem with students in general.”

To view the new ordinances contact the town office.

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