13th World opens for business

13th World opens for business

Council approves entertainment license for haunted attraction

CUMBERLAND – The Town Council voted 5-2 last Wednesday, Oct. 4, to approve an entertainment license for the operators of the 13th World haunted attraction at Diamond Hill Park.

After the approval, the show was allowed to go on last weekend.

Councilors Tom Kane and Lisa Beaulieu voted against granting the license after questioning why the new private operators weren’t required to get the license earlier.

Mayor Bill Murray had called off opening night of 13th World two weeks ago after Kane raised questions about why the company was being allowed to operate weekend fright nights throughout October without seeking an entertainment license for a new event.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Crawley repeatedly told council members last week that he was simply following a process that went back at least a decade when he allowed Haunted Hill, now called 13th World, to operate as an approved event under the Diamond Hill Management Plan approved by the council. He said he wasn’t necessarily saying the decision was right, but it was never questioned before.

Crawley said the wording of the management plan is open to interpretation, and he interpreted it differently from council members.

The only time he’s ever sought approval of an entertainment license from the council, said Crawley, is for live music events, a fitness challenge, and a downhill bike race. The race and challenge were brought to the council because they were unusual events, he said.

Council members and their attorney, Kelley Morris, noted that what changed this year was that the event went to a private vendor instead of being a town-run operation, meaning it was no longer covered under its previous name Haunted Hill in the management plan. It should have been considered a new event and gone to the council to begin with, they said.

Beaulieu and Kane said they didn’t agree with the process before them, where they were asked to approve an event that was already previously approved by Crawley and Murray and was already set up in the park. Kane later said he voted no to the license because “we put the cart before the horse on this one.” Processes were not followed, he said.

“It is not acceptable to ignore our town charter, code of ordinances and management plan for Diamond Hill Park,” he said. “At the last meeting, I asked my fellow councilors to work with me on creating an ordinance that will outline fees and contracts for use of town property. It is my hope that we will work together crafting a solution to ensure a situation like this does not happen again.”

Kane had also taken issue with Murray signing an agreement with the private vendors without first getting council approval. The mayor called that sheet of paper spelling out details of a $15,000 rental of the park “an agreement” and not a contract, and said it therefore didn’t need approval from the council.

Murray called the questions from his critics, Kane and Beaulieu, “an attack on my administration as usual.”

“I’ll take the blame for anything that’s gone on that shouldn’t have gone on,” he said, but to “continue attacking doesn’t make sense.” The new operators of 13th World, Zeke Fortier and Richard Vaillant, are “caught in the middle of this squabbling,” he said.

Comments

Of course Murray doesn't want to follow the rules. So Kane and Beaulieu bring up points about how they should be following the rules of the town and Murray says he's being attacked ? How about following the proper procedures for something like this? What's in it for Murray? Is he buddies with these new private operators? Can I get an "Agreement" to setup an event and not a contract ? They did, why not everyone else?

When is the next election ?