Woolwich selectmen

Concerts’ return strikes sour note with neighborhood

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 7:30am

    The Woolwich Select Board got an earful Monday night from residents of the Old Arrowsic and Woodbridge roads who want to bring an end to outdoor concerts in their neighborhood. Two “Music for Meals” events featuring live music were held last year; three were planned for this summer, the first on June 12.

    A website promoting the upcoming show states 100% of the proceeds go to Bath Area Food Bank. Angus Webster, owner of Unearthed Productions, is the promoter. Webster was not at Monday’s meeting.

    “We told him last year he didn’t need a permit to hold his shows and up until tonight we haven’t heard of any problems,” Selectman Jason Shaw told Wiscasset Newspaper.

    Monday night, nine residents of the neighborhood voiced complaints, among them that the music was too loud and went late into the night. They also complained of concert-goers littering the neighborhood and a lack of parking resulting in vehicles being parked on the side of the road.

    Woolwich does not have a noise ordinance and select board chairman David King Sr. said the town ordinance regulating outdoor entertainment was intended for events of over 250 people. The ordinance, he added, had been enacted in the 1970s and needed updating.  

    “If these (shows) were held in a more remote part of town this probably wouldn’t be a problem,” he commented. Houses in this area are fairly close to one another.

    Minutes from the board’s July 6, 2020 meeting showed Webster had discussed holding a concert at his property at 47 Old Arrowsic Road. They state, “Mr. Webster has sold 50 tickets for the event in complying with Gov. Mills’ COVID-19 executive orders of large gatherings. Mr. Webster was looking for approval by the board to hold the event. After discussion, it was voted unanimously for Mr. Webster to hold the event.”

    Reached for comment, Webster emailed saying he had no idea a discussion of this summer’s shows was on the agenda. “I did not bring it up myself simply because it is way under the number of guests to pull permits,” he wrote.

    Webster’s Eventbright website advertising the June 12 concert described this as a 21-plus show limited to 100 people. Eight live acts are to be featured performing from 2 to 11 p.m. with food vendors and onsite camping offered. It also listed a 12 a.m. curfew for concert-goers.

    In his email, Webster said Woolwich has been his place of residence for 17 years. “I have had several events for charity over the years. This is the first time ever I’ve heard neighbors were upset. I’ve only ever heard they were happy with them and it was good to have music in the neighborhood,” he wrote.

    Webster added his June 12 event is already sold out capped at 100 people and the July 24 show is 50% sold out and also capped at 100 people. Given objections from the neighborhood, he indicated he was considering cancelling the September show. Webster said over $2,000 was raised for Bath Area Food Bank from last year’s shows.

    Before moving onto other business, the board said it intended to get a legal opinion from Kristin Collins, the town attorney. King said the board would also look at updating the town’s entertainment ordinance and possibly getting a noise ordinance.

    On Friday afternoon, May 7, the select board will meet with resident Jonathan Williams to see if something could be done to control road runoff outside his home on the corner of Old Arrowsic and Woodbridge roads. Williams asked if installation of a culvert might help alleviate the problem. Standing water is a health concern providing a breeding area for mosquitoes, he said.

    Road Commissioner Jack Shaw doubted the water was the result of road runoff but agreed to have a look along with the select board.

    Debbie Locke noted North Woolwich Methodist Church at 941 River Road has agreed to host a Memorial Day service at 7 p.m. Monday, May 31.