LACONIA — Without so much as a word of discussion, the City Council on Monday night unanimously granted the request of an engaged couple who plan to marry at The Margate Resort on Sunday, July 3, 2016, to allow amplified music to play at their outdoor reception until 11 p.m., two hours past the deadline set by the current loudspeaker ordinance.
The decision contrasts sharply with the council's denial of similar request by the earlier this year when The Margate Resort, which hosted a convention of Harry Potter aficionados, asked to extend the hours of amplifies music until 11 p.m. on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. After denying the request by three-to-two vote, the council agreed to extend the hour to 10 p.m. by the same margin. At the time Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) noted that the venue borders Paugus Bay and stressed that sound carries for a long distance over water.
In a letter to the council, the couple, Kaitlyn Sullivan and James Pickering, explained that they have booked with The Margate, wherethe reception will be held in a tent on the north lawn, accompanied by a bonfire and fireworks. Although they anticipate the reception will end around 9 p.m., they noted "anything can happen to make things run late. How is it possible," they asked, "to have a bonfire on the lake and fireworks and have everything done at 9 p.m when in July it usually does not get dark until 9 p.m.?"
Meanwhile, the council is still wrestling with a proposal to relax the ordinance for licensing outdoor loudspeakers. Currently, outdoor loudspeakers cannot be operated later than 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Government Operations and Ordinances Committee of the council recently recommended extending the hours to 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., respectively, and allowing loudspeakers to operate until 11 p.m. on the weekday night before federal holidays. However, when the proposal met with opposition from residents of The Weirs, the proposal was left in limbo. "We're not done with this — not anywhere near," said Councilor Ava Doyle (Ward 1), who chairs the committee, on Oct. 12.
NOTE: The City Council voted unanimously to extend the employment contract of City Manager Scott Myers until June 30, 2017. Initially Myers was given a three-year contract beginning on June 30, 2011, which provided for an one-year extension by mutual agreement after two years. In August, 2013 the council voted to extend the city manager's contract until June 30, 2016 To ensure there is always a full year's contract in pace should either the manager or the council choose not to renew, the agreement provides that it be extended at the end of each subsequent year. In January, 2014, the council voted to raise the manager's annual salary from $100,000 to $105,000 as of February 3, 2014, from $105,000 to $112,500 as of July 7, 2014 and from $112,500 to $120,000 as of January 5, 2015 through the the end of calendar year 2015.
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