GARDINER — Councilors voted unanimously Wednesday to ban the use of fireworks in the city, but allow a fireworks retail store to move into Libby Hill Business Park.

Councilors amended a proposed fireworks ordinance that would have prohibited both the sale and use of fireworks in Gardiner.

City Manager Scott Morelli said the council’s decision is a compromise for the city that aims to strike a balance between public safety and quality of life for residents, while also allowing a potentially large business to move into the business park.

Steve Marson, owner of Central Maine Pyrotechnics, told councilors and about 30 residents who attended Wednesday’s public hearing that the park is an ideal location for a warehouse to keep inventory for his retail stores.

Morelli said Marson’s warehouse would be for distribution to his stores, but would also have retail space where people could buy fireworks.

Marson has opened three fireworks stores — in Manchester, Winslow and Edgecomb. Stores in Ellsworth and Presque Isle are slated to open this month.

“I’m asking the city to work with me to bring in a business with a tax base that will employ people with full-time jobs,” Marson said.

Residents who attended the meeting were in favor of banning the use of fireworks in the city. Some agreed with councilors on permitting a warehouse at the city-owned business park, but were against opening a retail store.

Resident Nancy Coniff was in favor of banning the use of fireworks and retail sales.

“I think it’s wonderful to have the warehouse, but I don’t think it’s necessary to have retail sales as well,” Coniff said.

Jeff Giberson, who lives downtown, said the city already has enough noise with trucks grinding their gears and kids hollering and hooting all night. He also wasn’t in favor of a retail store.

“The warehouse — fine,” Giberson said. “Retail sales, not so much.”

Morelli said the next step will be a second reading of the amended ordinance.

“And we are also checking to see what, if any, zoning changes need to be made to allow for retail sale of fireworks at the business park,” he said.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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