Friday, 14 December 2018
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No off-leash dogs allowed at West Newbury reservoir

WEST NEWBURY — Dogs are no longer allowed off leash around the reservoir on Moulton Street.

Unlike other public spaces in town where dogs are permitted to be off leash if under voice control of their owners, too many reported incidents of aggressive dogs interfering with people’s enjoyment of the area on Moulton Street prompted the Board of Selectmen to take further action last week.

Signs will be installed to inform the public of the new restriction to the area and the board will seek to amend the bylaws to reflect the change at a future Town Meeting.

When the issue was raised during Town Manager Angus Jenning’s regular report to selectmen, Chairman Glenn Kemper noted he has been contacted by several residents with complaints about aggressive dogs frightening them, their children and their own pets.

Colleague David Archibald confirmed he has personally encountered similar experiences when he goes for a run near the reservoir. He has observed cars with license plates from out of state parked in the area, he added.

With its scenic vistas and peaceful setting, the land around the Moulton Street Reservoir — also referred to as Indian Hill Reservoir or Cherry Hill Reservoir — is a popular area for birding, hiking and running. Because it is a public drinking water resource, swimming, boating and any use of motorized vehicles in the reservoir are prohibited.

On Oct. 15, 2002, Great Woods Custom Homes Company Inc. deeded a portion of the former Cherry Hill Nursery on Moulton Street to the town, and selectmen are the municipal body authorized to manage the property and impose any restrictions they deem necessary, according to Town counsel Michael McCarron.

This is not the only area on which distinct rules governing dog behavior exist in town. Dog owners using Mill Pond and River Bend Recreation Areas must keep their dogs leashed in all parking areas. Neither dogs nor horses are allowed in the picnic areas or near the dock.

The town’s leash law says dogs must be “held firmly on a leash or under the immediate control” of their owners or the owners are subject to a fine $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second violation and $100 for a third and subsequent offenses.

The town also has rules governing so called “dangerous or nuisance dog behavior” — defined in part as “molesting pedestrian passers-by or passing vehicles, including bicycles, attacking persons or domestic animals; or damaging public or private property.”

Owners of a dog deemed to be a danger or nuisance to the public will receive a written warning for a first offense; $25 for a second offense that occurs within 12 months of the first offense; and $75 for a third or subsequent offense.

Purchased about 1979 by neighboring Newburyport for $307,800, the 120 acres for the reservoir were previously owned by nine private property owners, including Cherry Hill Nurseries, the Elwell family, and Lincoln Walker.

Completed in 1981 for $1 million, the reservoir holds 650 million gallons of water from a combination of area springs and runoff from Indian Hill, Illsley Hill, Cherry Hill and other areas.

Although owned by Newburyport and used for its surface water supply, the reservoir is located entirely within West Newbury and the town supplements its drinking water supply through purchases from the city.

In other business, selectmen set Nov. 29 as the date for the annual holiday tree lighting. A kickoff to the season of lights in town, the event traditionally takes place on the Thursday following Thanksgiving at 6:30 p.m. on the Training Field. Singing, cookies and hot cocoa are part of the fun. All are welcome.

Early voting for the Nov. 6 state election takes place in the lobby of the 1910 Town Office Building, 381 Main St. during regular business hours from today through Nov. 2, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The police will hold Drug Take Back Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Selectmen and the Board of Library Trustees have proclaimed Oct. 21-28 as National Friends of the Libraries Week.

Selectman Joe Anderson asked to add a discussion to the Oct. 29 agenda on how the town plans to fund a potential new middle/high school building project for the Pentucket Regional School District and what it will actually cost taxpayers. Selectmen meet at 7 p.m. in the first-floor hearing room of the 1910 Building.


The Bark Box

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