EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

September 16, 2013

Salem selectmen hit with waiver requests

Some Salem selectmen are weary and leery


That was a sore subject for Keller, a longtime Planning Board member and former chairman.

“Don’t get me started,” he said.

Selectmen granted the waiver, but Hargreaves — a volunteer with the Boy Scouts and Field of Dreams — abstained from the vote.

The decision came only two weeks after selectmen were asked to waive town regulations for SalemFest, scheduled for this week.

Betty Gay and fellow organizers spoke out against a new town policy that forbids signs from being placed in rights of way. Signs are now only allowed on private property, but it costs $10 for each one.

“They just don’t cut the butter for our charities,” Gay said.

She told selectmen SalemFest organizers had been able to place their signs for years without any problems.

The board adopted the policy earlier this year after another nonprofit group, the Salem Farmers Market, kept its signs up longer than permitted.

But selectmen debated whether they would be obligated to all nonprofit organizations if they granted an exception to a single group.

“It’s a matter of trying to be fair,” Keller said.

Former Selectman Stephanie Micklon said SalemFest was being used as an example.

“You’re hoping SalemFest will play by the rules no one else is playing by,” she said.

The request was denied, 3-2, with Keller, Stephen Campbell and Michael Lyons voting in opposition and Hargreaves and Chairman Everett McBride in favor.

Selectmen voted unanimously to waive the $10 sign fee.

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