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Five ordinances have been proposed by Bethel officials and are the subject of a public information session being held on Tuesday.  They were going to be discussed in a public hearing, but First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the information session is a lot less formal, allows for more give and take, and gives the Selectmen more time to make any changes based on feedback from residents.


The Board of Selectmen meeting is at 7:30pm.


A Snow and Ice Removal ordinance is being proposed, and is based on state statute.  The proposals says the the town will not be liable to any person injured on property caused by the presence of ice or snow on a public sidewalk, unless the Town is the owner in control of the land or abutting sidewalk .  It also requires property owners to clear their sidewalks or be liable if someone is injured.  Any effort to recover damages for injury must be made within two years.


A change has been proposed to the Exemption for Veterans.  State statute now allows an additional exemption from property tax.  100-percent disabled veterans would be entitled to a property tax exemption equal to three times the amount of the exemption provided for in state statutes.  There are some income restrictions listed in the proposal. 


An ordinance about overnight parking on town property is being proposed.  No cars would be allowed in public parking lots owned by the town between 3am and 6am including the Old Bethel Railroad Station at 5 Depot Place, the Library, the Municipal Center and the Board of Education parking areas.  The exception would be in permitted lots.  Overnight parking permits are granted for exceptional reasons at the discretion of the Police Chief or the First Selectman.  The permits are limited to one 24-hour period. 


Vehicles parked in restricted areas without permit for 24 to 48 hours will receive a written warning.  A $10 per day fine would be issued for cars parked more than 48 hours but less than 7 days.  Vehicles parked in restricted areas for longer than 7 days will be towed at the owner's expense.


A Hazards to Public Roadways ordinance defines some terms and discusses enforcement.  Hazards such as snow, leaves and other debris is allowed to be moved into a public right-of-way.  If someone received a written warning for violation by the Bethel Public Works Director to remove the hazard and it's not done within 15 days, a $100 fine could be issued.  Each subsequent written warning is a new violation and subject to additional fine.


A Noise Ordinance is proposed to deal with excessive noise and disturbances in town.  It's also been proposed to protect the safety, health and general welfare of Bethel residents.  The law would regulate commercial construction, demolition, excavation and building operation so that it can't take place before 7am during the week, before 8am on Saturdays and before 10am on Sundays.  It can't take place after 8pm on any day.  Excessive honking and sound amplifying devices in cars emitting excess noise are also not permitted.


Lawn care equipment is allowed to operate between 7am and 9pm without violating the noise ordinance.


Enforcement would be in the hands of the Bethel Police Department.  Anyone violating the ordinance could be fined $50 for the first offense, $75 for a second violation happening within 30 days of the first, and $100 for any subsequent violation happening withing 30 days of the second offense.


There are several exceptions including bells or chimes from buildings, permitted recreational or celebratory activities like parades, concerts or fireworks.

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Todd Schnitt
Local Headlines