GARDINER — A new ordinance recently enacted prohibits the sale and use of fireworks within the city except by licensed professionals.

The ordinance is in response to a new state law that goes into effect Jan. 1 permitting fireworks to be purchased, possessed and used by Mainers.

The City Council unanimously voted last week to enact the new rule, which continues to allow people to use the traditional sparkler and morning glories legal in Maine.

“The ordinance has been reviewed by legal counsel and is consistent with what many other Maine communities are doing in reaction to this new state law,” said City Manager Scott Morelli.

He said the ordinance prevents the retail sale of fireworks. But distribution of fireworks is still allowed under the new ruling as long as it is in compliance with state and federal laws and city zoning ordinances.

Fireworks displays can continue, he said, as long as the company putting on the display has a permit from the state.

Councilor Ken Holmes said most council members would have liked to have seen state legislators leave the old law on the books, which largely banned consumer fireworks.

“Fireworks are dangerous to the people who light them off — especially kids,” Holmes said. “They’re a fire hazard in communities like Gardiner, where we have quite a few high-density neighborhoods made up largely of older wood-frame buildings. And firecrackers are just plain noisy.”

Anyone caught with fireworks will receive a citation with a civil penalty imposed for violations of the ordinance.

The penalties range from $110 to $850.

Holmes said councilors initially thought they might allow the use of fireworks in Gardiner’s rural districts.

“But this ended up seeming pretty unworkable,” he said. “With a citywide ordinance, we can post signs at the major entryways into the city. As for allowing retail sales of fireworks here in Gardiner, it seemed pretty disingenuous to me to say that while you can buy and sell firecrackers in Gardiner, you can’t light them off here.”

 

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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