WINSLOW — A proposed moratorium to ban sales of fireworks within town limits was defeated Monday, 4-3.

Town Councilors Paul Manson, Steve Russell, Kenneth Fletcher and Jerry Quirion voted against the moratorium, while Catherine Nadeau, Raymond Caron and Gerald Saint Amand voted in favor.

The vote followed a brief public hearing on the issue, during which one person spoke.

Steve Marson, owner of Central Maine Pyrotechnics in Hallowell, expressed his interest in opening a retail store in the building that formerly housed Ken’s Restaurant on China Road.

He also said that the State Fire Marshal’s Office hasn’t approved applications for retail stores, and it may be “another 30 to 60 days before anything can take place” is terms of seeking state approval to open.

Consumer fireworks became legal in Maine on Jan. 1, reversing a decades-old ban on their sale, use and possession. Local municipalities, however, can opt out of the new law.

Councilor Caron expressed support for Marson’s store, but voted in favor of the moratorium to allow the town time to draft its own ordinance.

“I want this gentleman to be able to put his business in the town of Winslow. There’s no question about that,” he said, “but it’s still recommended by the code enforcement officer that we have some type of ordinance put in place before we do that so the gentleman knows exactly what has to happen here in town and what the restrictions are.”

Code Enforcement Officer Frank Stankevitz said he has drafted a proposed ordinance that would require Planning Board approval for retail fireworks stores and would impose a licensing fee of $1,000.

Saint Amand asked Stankevitz what would happen if a moratorium wasn’t in place prior to approval of an ordinance.

“So someone wanting to open a fireworks store would not have to go through an expensive planning board review?” Saint Amand asked.

“That’s correct,” Stankevitz said.

On Dec. 12, the Town Council narrowly approved, 4-3, a first reading of the moratorium. That vote also followed a public hearing, which about 20 residents attended, according to Town Clerk Pamela Smiley. Two people spoke in favor of the moratorium. Four people spoke in opposition.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

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