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WINSTED — A town-wide noise ordinance, which has been discussed by the Board of Selectmen since August, was tabled at the board’s regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 20.

The ordinance, as proposed by the board, would greatly expand the town’s current ordinances and includes new sections on noise levels, guidelines, enforcement, and penalties.

It would decide the town into “noise zones” for Product and Innovation, the Highland Lake Business District along with its Residential District, Town Center, Town Gateway, Rural Residential, Town Central Residential, and Town Single Family homes.

The current noise ordinance is at this link on page 9:

https://www.townofwinchester.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif1461/f/file/file/sections_191_to_200.pdf

The proposed noise ordinance is at this link, which was modified on September 9, is at this link:

https://www.townofwinchester.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif1461/f/uploads/noise_ordinance_draft_9.9.2021_update.pdf

At the Sept. 20 meeting, Mayor Candy Perez said that the board needs to discuss in further detail any possible grandfathering for new businesses moving into locations with previously established decibel limits.

“What I am worried about is the same thing other people are worried about, which is what constitutes grandfathering,” Mayor Perez said. “This happens with other ordinances that we have up for the lake and the docks. There has been a constant misunderstanding on what is grandfathered and what isn’t grandfathered. What exactly does ‘grandfathered’ mean?”

“First off, we need to purchase the equipment to test the sound,” Selectman Candace Bouchard said. “Before we put this in place, we need to have the equipment to test and then put everything in place. How do we know if these businesses are operating within the proper decibel ranges? We need something so we can enforce a noise ordinance.”

“I think this is a chicken and egg situation where I didn’t want to buy anything before now, not knowing whether or not this ordinance passed,” Town Manager Joshua Kelly said. “I can say we can order the equipment as soon as possible, and certainly if we can give an amount of time for a business to register [for grandfathering] in some way.”

“There is no rush to do anything,” Mayor Perez added. “We want to get it right before we put it through. There are too many things riding on it right now.”

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