|Posted by Ron Baldwin on April 28, 2010 at 5:48 PM|
by Jeff Shmase
LYNNFIELD – On paper, a Town Meeting article requiring motorcycles to have an exhaust system label didn’t appear worthy of much debate.
But instead, the proposed bylaw generated the most noise at Town Meeting on Monday as both proponents and opponents argued their cases. Ultimately, the article failed by a 2-1 margin.
Those on the winning side of the argument claimed the sticker is hard to locate on the motorcycle and thus would be practically unenforceable. Gene DiPaolo of Homestead Road said he owns three motorcycles but could only find one sticker on his bikes. A Main Street resident made a similar remark.
“It’s my understanding that if fines are levied and the (civil case) goes to court, they get thrown out,” DiPaolo said.
Prospect Avenue resident Jim Slattery, a member of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA), said while the organization recognized the rights of communities to keep down the noise affiliated with motorcycles, passing the article would have punished “law-abiding citizens.” Slattery said the city of Boston recently passed an ordinance similar to what Lynnfield was planning and since its passage not one fine has been issued.
New Planning Board member John Faria, a motorcycle enthusiast who is also an attorney, opposed the bylaw saying it imposed layers of government and the language was neither clear nor concise.
The bylaw called for a fine of $300 and “every day on which a violation of the bylaw occurs shall be punishable as a separate offense.”
A Williams Road resident, who is also a member of the (MMA) said her organization would like to work with the town on creating awareness and sound testing as it pertains to the noise generated from the motorcycle. She said the MMA worked with the town of North Reading and a community in New Hampshire on similar initiatives.
Proponents of the bylaw included Library Trustee Seavey Bowdoin, a 90-year-old Main Street resident, and Police Chief Joseph Dunn who worked on creating the article with resident Thomas Manning. Bowdoin said he finds the motorcycle noise “intolerable.”
Dunn said he needed the bylaw to pass to help his department respond to complaints he receives from residents and businesses.
“Passing this bylaw will help me make the town quieter,” Dunn said. “Motorcyclists don’t have the constitutional right to annoy people.”
Dunn said the pastor from the Centre Congregational Church told him it’s difficult to have a service at times because of the noise generated from motorcycles.