WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday will discuss drafting a proposed sex offender ordinance that would regulate where some registered sex offenders may live in the city. Councilors also will consider voting on whether to close Common Street this spring for the seasonal downtown farmers market.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of The Center at 93 Main St. downtown.

A sex offender ordinance was proposed at a Feb. 6 council meeting when resident Andrew Ayers said other communities have ordinances that prohibit some registered sex offenders from living within a certain distance of places where children frequent and he thinks Waterville should have one, too.

He asked Councilor Nathaniel White, D-Ward 2, to sponsor an ordinance for the council to vote on and White agreed. City Manager Michael Roy said Friday that the ordinance idea will be discussed Tuesday under the city manager’s report section of the agenda at the end of the council meeting, but no vote will be taken.

Waterville is looking at sex offender ordinances in other communities that prohibit some registered sex offenders from living within 750 feet of places children frequent such as schools, playgrounds and community pools.

Meanwhile, regarding the Downtown Waterville Farmers Market, the location for the market this year has been up in the air as market vendors and owners of businesses on Common Street disagree on the layout of the market.

The council on Feb. 6 postponed voting on whether to close Common Street from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays from April 26 through Nov. 15 for 2018 to allow both sides to come to an agreement. The market was held on Common Street last year.

At the Feb. 6 meeting, City Councilor Winifred Tate, D-Ward 6, volunteered to set up meetings for discussions between market representatives and business officials. Tate represents downtown as part of her ward.

Roy said Friday that those discussions are continuing and a meeting has been set up for Tuesday, before the council meeting, to see if the sides can come to an agreement.

On Feb. 6, Hanne Tierney, who manages the farmers market and sells produce from Cornerstone Farm, of Palmyra, told councilors vendors enjoyed the location on Common Street last year. The spot provides shade, the area is protected from the wind and people like the green space next to the street, she said. More than 50 percent of market patrons say they also shop at other businesses when they patronize the farmers market, she said.

But Bill Mitchell, owner of GHM Insurance Agency on Main Street, the Proper Pig restaurant on Common Street and two buildings at 14-24 Common that house an Edward Jones office and A&L Barbershop, said that while he supports having the farmers market downtown, it hinders visibility of businesses on the street. He said that if one wants a viable business downtown, it must have full exposure. He asked market representatives if they could move the vendors from the south side of the street to the north side to make the sidewalk near businesses more pedestrian-friendly, but they were not willing to do that.

Council Chairman Steve Soule, D-Ward 1, asked Tierney if the market would be willing to move to the north side of Common Street. Tierney said that would not work because the curve of the roadway does not allow enough room for vendors. She said marketers would consider moving to that side of the street late in the season, but she does not think it would work in mid-season, as farmers have so much produce and items for sale.

Al Hodsdon, owner of A. E. Hodsdon Consulting Engineers, also on Common Street, agreed with Mitchell’s stance about accessibility to businesses.

When the farmers market moved to Common Street last year, there were no tenants in Hodsdon’s downstairs space but now there are tenants, and 30 to 50 clients a day enter the business, he said. He said the farmers market made it difficult for clients to get to the business.

Hodsdon said everyone enjoys the farmers market and it is a valuable resource, but having the market on The Concourse, across from the Cancun restaurant, would allow it to be more central in the city, with potentially more room. Also, the street would not have to be closed down for the market, he said.

A decision was made to move the farmers market from the northeast corner of The Concourse to Common Street in 2017, as Colby College was making plans to build a mixed-use residential complex on The Concourse site.

In other business Tuesday, the council will consider authorizing the city to enter into a contract with Stantec Consulting Services, of Scarborough, which consults with Waterville on the city-owned Robert LaFleur Municipal Airport. Trees have been removed from an area around the airport and stumps must be removed and the area graded, according to Roy.

“It’s a safety-related improvement at the airport so trees don’t grow up into the air space,” he said.

Councilors also will consider a change to the downtown tax increment financing district and related development plan. Roy said the city is asking the state to allow an expansion of eligible uses for TIF money to include trails and pedestrian amenities in the downtown.

“One of the outcomes, if we can get that changed, is some of the TIF money would be eligible to support the Riverwalk,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

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