WEST NEWBURY â Dogs are no longer allowed off leash around the reservoir onÂ Moulton Street.
Unlike other public spaces in town where dogs are permitted to beÂ off leash if under voice control of their owners, too many reported incidents ofÂ aggressive dogs interfering with peopleâs enjoyment of the area on Moulton StreetÂ prompted the Board of Selectmen to take further actionÂ last week.
Signs will be installed to inform the public of the new restriction to the area andÂ 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 Jenningâs regular report toÂ selectmen, Chairman Glenn Kemper noted he has been contacted byÂ several residents with complaints about aggressive dogs frightening them, theirÂ children and their own pets.
Colleague David Archibald confirmed he has personallyÂ encountered similar experiences when he goes for a run near the reservoir.Â He has observed cars with license plates from out of state parked in the area, heÂ added.
With its scenic vistas and peaceful setting, the land around the Moulton StreetÂ Reservoir â also referred to as Indian Hill Reservoir or Cherry HillÂ Reservoir â is a popular area for birding, hiking and running. Because it is aÂ public drinking water resource, swimming, boating and any use of motorized vehiclesÂ in the reservoir are prohibited.
On Oct. 15, 2002, Great Woods Custom Homes Company Inc. deeded a portion of the formerÂ Cherry Hill Nursery on Moulton Street to the town, and selectmen are the municipalÂ body authorized to manage the property and impose any restrictions they deemÂ necessary,Â according to Town counsel Michael McCarron.
This is not the only area on which distinct rules governing dog behavior exist inÂ town. Dog owners using Mill Pond and River Bend Recreation Areas must keep theirÂ dogs leashed in all parking areas. Neither dogs nor horses are allowed in theÂ picnic areas orÂ nearÂ the dock.
TheÂ townâs leash law says dogs must be âheld firmly on a leash orÂ under the immediate controlâ of their owners or the owners are subject to a fine $25 for aÂ first offense, $50 for a second violation and $100 for a third and subsequentÂ offenses.
The town also has rules governing so called âdangerous or nuisance dog behaviorâ â defined in part as âmolesting pedestrian passers-by or passing vehicles,Â including bicycles, attacking persons or domestic animals; or damaging public orÂ private property.â
Owners of a dog deemed to be a danger or nuisance to the publicÂ will receive a written warning for a first offense; $25 for a second offense thatÂ occurs within 12 months of the first offense; and $75 for a third or subsequentÂ offense.
Purchased about 1979 by neighboring Newburyport for $307,800, the 120 acres for theÂ reservoir were previously owned by nine private property owners, including CherryÂ Hill Nurseries, the Elwell family, and Lincoln Walker.
Completed in 1981 for $1Â million, the reservoirÂ holds 650 million gallons of water from a combination ofÂ 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 reservoirÂ is located entirely within West Newbury and the town supplements its drinking waterÂ supply through purchases from the city.
In other business, selectmen set Nov. 29 as the date for the annual holiday treeÂ lighting. A kickoff to the season of lights in town, the event traditionally takesÂ place on the Thursday following Thanksgiving at 6:30 p.m. on the Training Field.Â 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 TownÂ Office Building, 381 Main St. during regular business hours fromÂ today through Nov.Â 2, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The police will hold Drug Take Back Day onÂ Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Selectmen and the Board of Library Trustees haveÂ 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 theÂ town plans to fund a potential new middle/high school building project for theÂ Pentucket Regional School District and what it will actually cost taxpayers. Selectmen meetÂ at 7 p.m. in the first-floor hearing room of the 1910 Building.