November 17, 2019
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After noise complaints, local voters limit Hampton Beach concert hours

Rich Beauchesne | Portsmouth Herald
Rich Beauchesne | Portsmouth Herald
Hampton, New Hampshire, voters brave Tuesday's snow to weigh in during the annual town meeting at Winnacunnet High School.

HAMPTON, New Hampshire — Outdoor music will be cut short an hour early Monday through Thursday at Hampton Beach from now on, according to an amendment to the town’s entertainment ordinance approved by voters Tuesday.

Residents approved the amendment with a vote of 1,599 to 968, the article also increasing the allowable volume to 75 decibels after 11 p.m. on weekend nights.

The amendment allows music until midnight Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on federal holidays.

The ordinance prior to Tuesday’s vote allowed outdoor music until midnight each night of the week. Selectmen put forth the amendment in response to residents complaining about live music.

Voters rejected two petition articles put forth by beach business owner and selectmen candidate Bryan Provencal that sought to extend outdoor music hours until 1 a.m. and do away with the town’s requirement that businesses acquire entertainment licenses.

“I hope it’s behind the town now,” said Selectman Regina Barnes of the discussion over the entertainment ordinance, which began after Bernie’s Beach Bar’s outdoor stage drew complaints from several beach residents. “I think it should be, if that’s what the town voted to do, but we’ll see what happens.”

Donna Northam, a Bradford Avenue resident who complained about the music, said mid-day Tuesday she believed a fair representation of the town would shoot down Provencal’s petition articles and choose the selectmen’s amendment.

Those who voted for the petitions said the selectmen’s article would hurt beach business, but Northam said the petitions would have impeded on residents’ right to peace and quiet on their property. Residents in her neighborhood said music on the Bernie’s stage was disruptive, even preventing some from getting to sleep at night. The amendment that passed Tuesday was crafted by the police chief, and selectmen viewed it as a compromise between residents and businesses.

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