Peterborough voters just shy of breaking town house fire code at town meeting

  • Peterborough Town Meeting voters filled the town house upper hall to capacity Wednesday night.   Staff Photo By Meghan Pierce

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, May 14, 2018 4:37PM

Peterborough Fire Chief Ed Walker said Town Meeting Wednesday night was just shy of breaching the maximum number of people allowed in the hall per the building fire code -- due to the large number of people who turned out to vote on the $8.5 million library project. 

Town Clerk Linda Guyette said 649 of the town’s registered voters turned out to the open session of May Town Meeting Wednesday night, representing 12 percent of the town’s 5,513 registered voters. 

Walker said the building maximum for fire code capacity is 650, 547 for the floor and 113 for the balcony. 

Though, Guyette’s count does not include the non-voters in the hall that night, Walker said, he and two other firefighters monitored the room for capacity and said many voters only appeared in the hall after they had been texted by a friend or family member alerting them the ballot vote was taking place. Walker said, many voters had already decided which way they would vote on the library project and wanted to avoid a possibly long debate over the bond article. The majority of voters left the hall after casting a ballot on the library project, he said, and fire code ceased to be an issue.  

Guyette said town meeting attendance for the open session averages around 100 voters. She said the last time large numbers turned out to town meeting was in 2011 when 257 voters turned out to vote on the renovation of Adams Pool, which passed. 

“We thought that was busy then, but last night had that beat,” Guyette said on Thursday.