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Cutting back on the 'kabooms' in Moultonborough

MOULTONBOROUGH — Voters at town meeting this year narrowly defeated a complete ban on fireworks, but approved an ordinance limiting the use of consumer fireworks to between noon and 10 p.m.

With the summer tourist season and the upcoming Independence Day holiday approaching, town officials are calling attention to the restrictions so that renters and property owners are informed.

The exceptions to the noon to 10 p.m. time period are two holidays, on July 4th when use is permitted from noon to midnight, and on New Year’s Eve from noon to 15 minutes past midnight.

For West Point Road resident Joe Cormier, the restriction doesn’t go far enough. Cormier submitted a petitioned warrant article last year calling for a ban on fireworks. He said that, since state restrictions on fireworks were loosened to allow use of louder mortar-type fireworks, the noise in his Long Island neighborhood has become unbearable.

“It’s lunacy to begin with. It’s still a federal violation to have firecrackers or cherry bombs, but you can have mortars,” he said, adding fireworks became a bigger problem in about 2011, mainly with out-of-state renters who would ingite loud fireworks, usually during drunken parties, late into the night and early morning.

“I had had enough,” he said. “The fireworks got worse and worse and I had to do something.”

Cormier asked the Select Board to take action. Out of consideration for the town’s tourism trade and the town’s many vacation rental properties, the board chose to take “baby steps,” said Cormier, and, instead of a complete ban on fireworks, tweaked the current town noise ordinance to restrict most late night and early morning fireworks. Voters passed this version of the ordinance in March.

Cormier said Police Chief Len Wetherbee has been “fantastic” in responding to complaints and by mapping out the areas of those complaints.

Town Administrator Carter Terenzini said the police chief made other tweaks to the normal enforcement procedure. The first was to send an officer to every event/complaint, and the second would to check if the person was age 21 or over, and the third was to check, if the party was renting, if they had written permission from the owner to use fireworks on the property.

Wetherbee was unavailable on Thursday afternoon, but Terenzini said the fine for a first offense is $100, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for the third offense.

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