AUGUSTA — A proposed ban on fireworks in the city could, once again, be up for a final vote.

City councilors will take up the matter when they meet Thursday at 7 p.m. in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Councilors on Nov. 3 postponed a final vote on the ban to allow more time for public input and to consider changes in the language of the proposed fireworks ordinance.

The proposal would ban the use and sale of fireworks anywhere in Augusta and, as currently written, would also make it illegal to “possess with the intent to use” fireworks in the city.

Some councilors have proposed removing the possession ban out of concern that someone could have fireworks in their vehicle or home in Augusta with the intent to use them legally elsewhere.

Councilor Michael Byron suggested the ban could be used like a moratorium and be repealed if banning fireworks proves to be unwarranted.

“Let’s say we do a complete ban, which is tantamount, in my mind, to a moratorium,” Byron said. “It gives the city time to see what’s happening in communities which don’t have a ban, and come back six months into the year with that on-the-ground information from other municipalities. If we lift the ban that way, we do it on a logical, fact-based basis.”

Fire Chief Roger Audette has advocated strongly for a ban, noting the danger fireworks pose to young users and the additional cost and time it would take public safety workers to respond to fireworks-related injuries and incidents.

Resident Corey Wilson has argued that Augusta residents can be trusted to use fireworks safely. He has suggested charging fees for a permit to use fireworks and using the fee revenue to pay for educational programs regarding fireworks.

The proposed ordinance includes penalties of $200 to $400 for a first offense of using fireworks and $500 for a first offense of selling fireworks.

Councilors are also scheduled to consider parking rule changes on Drew Street to address concerns of residents about employees of a nearby business blocking their driveways.

The new rules would ban parking on the east side of Drew Street all year between Western Avenue and Lincoln Street, and from Nov. 15 to April 1 from Lincoln Street to Green Street.

Several Drew Street residents have told councilors that employees of Marketing Unlimited on Western Avenue park on their street, sometimes blocking, or turning around in, their driveways.

Councilors are also scheduled to:

* inaugurate newly elected Councilor Daniel Emery, who was elected to fill the remainder of the at-large council seat previously held by now-Mayor William Stokes;

* listen to a presentation on a local warming center;

* consider making most of the city’s parks and recreation areas drug free safe zones, thus upping the fines for drug offenses within 1,000 feet of such areas;

* and consider a zoning change to allow a Sewall Street property across from the State House in the low-density residential district to be used as office space.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]


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