Councilors approved an amended motion on domestic chicken licensing, easing the burden on backyard farmers in town. Also on the agenda Monday night, councilors took action on a proposed parking ban, approved fire protection changes and set a public hearing regarding traffic and parking at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School.

Following a public hearing on the issue two weeks ago, councilors wavered a bit regarding new licensing fees for domestic chickens. The newly proposed change to the ordinance would have provided for a two-year license instead of the current annual arrangement — but that came with an added cost.

Current coop keepers pay an annual fee of $10 and are required to submit to an annual inspection from the animal control officer. The proposed change to the ordinance would only require an initial inspection unless there are complaints or significant changes made to the coop. The fee would also be raised to $30 for a two-year license.

It was proposed as a way for the town to recoup some of what it spends issuing licenses and providing annual inspections. The cut in services compounded with the increased price tag, however, caused some of the 21 licensed chicken lovers in town to grouse.

Joshua Shean spoke out at the public meeting, saying that not only would his license fee increase, but he had to pay a minimum of $45 for a building permit to construct his coop. Along with the permit, Shean said, came a visit from town assessing, who made sure he was properly taxed on what was termed a new outbuilding.

Councilor Kathy Wilson proposed a compromise on the license fee of $25 for a two-year license after hearing concerns from residents about the sharp increase. The proposal was seconded by Chairwoman Sarah Brayman and the vote passed unanimously.

A public hearing was also held regarding parking on Weymouth Street. At issue, vehicles parked too close to the Union Street intersection were causing visibility and safety issues. Many on the council had heard concerns and Councilor John Perreault said he heard of a school bus that was trying to make a left-hand turn onto Weymouth Street and was thwarted by parked vehicles and had to circle the block.

No members of the public spoke regarding the proposed parking ban, affecting the south side of Weymouth Street, extending from Union Street a distance of 100 feet. The council approved the ban unanimously.

The council also heard from Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Emerson regarding housekeeping changes made to the fire prevention and protection ordinance. The proposed amendment brought language more in line with state codes and revamped fee schedules Emerson said have not seen an increase in more than 20 years.

The amendment was unopposed and passed the council unanimously.

The council also voted unanimously to set a public hearing for Feb. 16 regarding parking restrictions and a full-time designation of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School access road as one-way.

Brunswick Police Commander Mark Waltz said he has heard concerns from the school that vehicles parking along the access road present a hazard to students traversing the area to get to parents’ cars. Waltz said the road was not designed for parking along the side, further affecting the passable space between traveling vehicles and parked cars.

The one-way status of the access road was enacted to alleviate congestion when students are dismissed. Waltz said the school wants to make the one-way status permanent because they say traffic seems to flow better that way and that adding more times to the sign as to when the road can be utilized as a two-way would be confusing.

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