Gardiner District 1 City Councilor Terry Berry is seeking a waiver to be able to accept money to improve a Water Street building that he bought through one of his limited liability companies earlier this year.

Under federal regulations that govern Community Development Block Grants and the Microenterprise Assistance Grant program, city councilors are among those prohibited from benefiting from Community Development Block Grant funds unless they have obtained a waiver from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On Wedensday, the City Council will be asked to support the submission of a waiver request to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, to which HUD delegates responsibility for these matters.

Patrick Wright, economic development coordinator for the city of Gardiner and executive director of Gardiner Main Street, said he was reviewing language in the agreement between applicants and the city of Gardiner when he found the clause.

To receive the waiver, Berry is required to disclose publicly his intent to use money from the program and to abstain from any future public discussions or votes on the facade program. He also must supply a letter from the city attorney attesting that no state or local conflict-of-interest laws have been broken. “It’s something that came up in this whole process,” Berry said. “I had nothing to do with the administration or implementation of any of the committee meetings.”

In early March, Berry bought one of the properties damaged in the 2015 downtown fire; it has been identified as both 243 and 251 Water St.

Gardiner officials submitted an application for the grant to the state Department of Economic and Community Development in March after getting the go-ahead from the City Council. State economic development officials initially said Gardiner would not receive funding, but later they reversed their decision.

In August 2016 , the City Council voted to accept the money, and in September it created a committee to oversee the administration of the grant money and appointed members to the committee.

Wright said he spoke to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development about the clause and the waiver process.

A call to the department Tuesday was not returned immediately.

At the start of Wednesday’s meeting, city officials are expected to meet in executive session to consider a purchase and sale agreement for 24 and 31 Summer St., two of the former T.W. Dick parcels that Developers Collaborative have an option agreement on. They also will consider an option addendum on all four former T.W. Dick properties.

City officials acquired the four parcels on Summer Street and secured both state and federal money to clean up contaminants on the three parcels where they were identified. After a request for proposals in 2015, city officials selected Developers Collaborative to develop a medical arts building on the site. The company also has brought forward a plan to build workforce housing on Summer Street, and it plans to build a building for a kidney care facility.

The council also will consider:

• Approving a request to narrow outer Summer Street, west of Winter Street, to 16 feet.

• Granting a special event permit for Townsquare Media and a catered event liquor license for Lisa’s White Flour Catering for the End of Summer Bash, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 28 at Gardiner’s Waterfront Park

• Approving meeting minutes.

The Gardiner City Council is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Gardiner City Hall, at 6 Church St.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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