NORRIDGEWOCK — Residents will consider changes to the town’s mass gathering ordinance at the upcoming Town Meeting, including requiring more notice to be given to residents before such gatherings and slight changes in allowable noise levels.

The proposed changes will be discussed at 6 p.m. Thursday during a public hearing at the Town Office. A vote on the changes will take place at Town Meeting, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 7 at Mill Stream Elementary School.

The proposals follow several years of the town working with the Great North Music and Arts Festival, an annual music festival that draws about 3,000 people to Norridgewock, on developing and implementing protocol for gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

Few concerns were voiced during the permitting process for the festival last fall, although one selectman, Jim Lyman, who also owns property abutting the site of the festival, said he felt a better compromise could be reached about noise levels.

Tim Rogers, owner of Last Breath Farm, which has hosted the Great North festival for the last three years, said he has no concerns about the proposed ordinance changes.

“I’m not really worried about anything right now,” Rogers said. “We’ve met all the ordinance requirements every year.”

Proposed ordinance changes include extending the amount of time required to undergo the permitting process and additional restrictions on noise limits.

Whereas an application now must be filed 90 days before a mass gathering, the proposed changes would push the application deadline back to 120 days before the event.

The changes also would require that a public hearing on the event be held sooner in the application process and that the Planning Board make a decision on the event sooner after the hearing is held.

Finally, the proposed ordinance changes also modify permissible sound levels. Now, the ordinance restricts music and noise to 45 decibels from midnight to 9 a.m. and the proposed change would require noise levels to be at or below 30 decibels from midnight to 6 a.m.

The mass gathering ordinance, enacted in the 1990s, was never used until the festival came to town in 2013, according to former Town Manager Michelle Flewelling. In May 2015, Flewelling said the festival triggered the review of the ordinance after noise complaints and traffic flow issues came to the attention of town officials.

With regard to the stricter regulations on noise levels, Rogers said he doesn’t see it making a big difference to the festival.

“It’s nothing that can really make a big difference. People want what they want,” he said. “I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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