Town considering open container law

An ordinance is being considered for the town of Castleton that would prohibit anyone from walking around town with an open container, town officials said.  

If caught disobeying this law the board is considering a fine of $1,000 dollars for a third offense.
“It’s part of a collaborative effort between town officials and Police Department, liquor control, Castleton State College and concerned citizens on Main Street and streets around the college,” said Cristine Smith, a town Select Board Member.
John Hale, another Select Board member, said the town is “aiming at creating a legal tool for the policy to have at hand, and be able for them to use in situations that it may be required.”
Students from Castleton State College had mixed opinions about the proposed ordinance. They were asked if they knew there wasn’t a law now and that the town is trying to make one. Only three said they knew about it, and eight out of 10 said they wouldn’t care either way.
“I didn’t know about it and it wouldn’t really bother me because I’m used to it being illegal everywhere else,” said senior Tyler Hartley.
But some students were a little more outspoken.
“I did not know that and I think it’s not right that they are trying to do that. Castleton is just like any other town and there would be a lot less problems if the town wasn’t so hard on the college kids,” said senior Juliana Combs.
But Smith said students have kind of brought on the town’s action.
“The destruction of property, the increasing amount of garbage strewn about on lawns and streets after parties is out of control,” Smith said.
Smith said she has opposed the prospect of an open container ordinance in the past, but hates hearing of destruction of property and would support it if it governed the village only.
Robert Wuagneux is a communications professor here at Castleton and a Main Street resident. He said he loves his students and anyone who knows him would tell you he is a very comical person and almost nothing bothers him. Nevertheless, he said students have gone too far and he is very disappointed in their actions.
“I’ve had things stolen from my porch, and I have had someone crash into my fence, drunk, because they didn’t see it,” said Wuagneux, “and as a community member, you feel abused.”
Smith believes this type of conduct shows students lack of respect toward the town and its homeowners, and that’s why they are working on a solution to this problem.
But Wuagneuex said he hopes the ordinance addresses the issue properly.
“I understand the intent of the law, but I’m not into punitive measures. You don’t solve a problem with money, you solve a problem with understanding and cooperation,” said Wuagneux, which he said could be through some payment of time such as community service.

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