SKOWHEGAN — A Hallowell-based pyrotechnics company is awaiting the outcome of a vote at a special town meeting next month that will determine how consumer fireworks would be used in town.

The special town meeting is set for Feb. 14. If passed, the ordinance will allow sale and use of all but missile-type rockets, “helicopters” and aerial spinners, sky rockets and bottle rockets in certain parts of town outside the downtown area. A new state law allows the sale and use of consumer fireworks throughout Maine and it’s up to communities whether they want to regulate them further.

Steven Marson, president of Central Maine Pyrotechnics, a commercial fireworks display company in Hallowell, said he is interested in coming to Skowhegan if voters agree to the ordinance.

“I looked at a building up there — I spoke with the fire chief about the ordinance that they’re working on and I left my business card with the town manager,” Marson said Monday. “I’m just waiting to hear what their ordinance is going to be.”

Marson said he is looking at the vacant former Movie Gallery video store, a stand-alone building in Skowhegan Village Shopping Center, near Burger King, the Chapter 11 store and Radio Shack on upper Madison Avenue.

Aside from missiles and rockets, all other fireworks are allowed, including single-shell mortars, reloadable tubes, 200-gram up to 500-gram cakes, box barrages, Roman candles, sparklers, firecrackers and fountains, Marson said.

“When you look at fountains and barrage cakes there are 100 different kinds,” he said.

Skowhegan Town Manager John Doucette Jr. said residents will either vote yes or no. If the vote is no, then residents will be asked to vote on banning possession and sale of fireworks at the annual town meeting in June.

Doucette said he worked on the ordinance with Fire Chief Tom Keene, Police Chief Michael Emmons and Code Enforcement Officer Randy Gray. Skowhegan’s proposed ordinance is based on state law and would be enforced by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Doucette said commercial grade fireworks can only be displayed in Maine by licensed companies.

He said he started the process of the town’s ordinance with a survey of residents who came to the town office and on the town’s webpage. Doucette said he also met with selectmen and the Planning Board, and conducted his own survey of other towns in Maine where the issue of fireworks has already come up.

“The majority of the people on the survey said they did want fireworks here,” he said. “We broke it down in two ways — sales of fireworks and use of fireworks.”

Doucette said he used the state Department of Transportation urban compact line, which defines what is considered downtown and what is outside of the downtown area, for sale and use of consumer grade fireworks. Sale and use of fireworks would only be allowed outside that compact zone, but a waiver is possible from the Board of Selectmen for select sites within the zone, he said.

“We just don’t want them downtown, but there are some options available,” Doucette said.

The sale of fireworks would require a conditional permit from the Board of Selectmen. Applicants cannot have a felony criminal record.

The use of consumer fireworks would also require a permit from the Fire Department. Fireworks would not be allowed to be displayed within 300 feet of any combustible structure or within 50 feet of overhead power lines. Spectators must stay at least 100 feet from the display and the applicant much provide for cleanup and removal of all debris.

Anyone with a permit to shoot off fireworks may not consume alcohol or be under the influence of alcohol during the fireworks display. Civil penalties of $500 to $2,500 will be imposed for violations of any of the 10 permit stipulations, plus attorney fees and costs.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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