SKOWHEGAN — A proposed repeal of a ban on fireworks sales in Skowhegan, a draft sex offender residency ordinance, and other proposed town ordinances and policies are set for a vote Monday at Town Meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Skowhegan Opera House on Water Street.

On the fireworks issue, voters will be asked to repeal the sales ban currently in place.

Town Manager Christine Almand said the town follows state law on the use of fireworks but banned the sale in a referendum vote in 2012. She said the question in 2012 was worded in “a three-way split,” which might have confused voters, and that 60 percent of residents did not want a complete ban on fireworks sales.

Under that rule, residents could buy fireworks in neighboring towns and shoot them off in Skowhegan, but the town didn’t get any economic benefit from sales elsewhere.

The Legislature permitted the sale and use of consumer fireworks — not commercial-grade used by licensed companies — in January 2012, ending a 63-year statewide ban; but it was up to communities to decide whether they wanted to regulate them further. Maine law does not allow anyone under 21 to buy, sell, possess or use fireworks. Legal fireworks include those certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, such as certain firecrackers, morning glories, Roman candles and flaming fountains.

On the sex offender residency restrictions question, rules of residence would apply to anyone convicted of a felony class A, B or C sex offense against someone who had not yet turned 14 years old, whether the offense occurred in Maine or elsewhere.

A convicted sex offender, under the ordinance, could not live, rent or own a home within 750 feet of a public or private elementary, middle or secondary school or any of the “safe zones” in Skowhegan. Safe zones are public parks, athletic fields or recreational facilities.

Safe zones in Skowhegan are Bucky Quinn Field on South Factory Street, Pat Quinn Ball Field on East Maple Street, Memorial Field on East Maple Street, Carl Wright Ball Fields at the Community Center and Lake George Regional Park on U.S. Route 2, at the Canaan town line.

Voters also will be asked to act on a Skowhegan building safety ordinance, which would update the current International Building Codes adopted by the state.

In the Special Amusement Ordinance proposal, the town would address a state law that no longer requires cities and towns to issue special amusement permits.

“This is an amendment just to remove the necessity for a permit when you have music on premise where alcohol is sold. You can have a radio, but if you’re going to have live music, you needed a permit,” Almand said. “This would remove the necessity of a permit, so it saves the businesses money by not having to pay for a permit or the advertising for the permit.”

There also is a question on the Monday warrant to address licensing requirements pertaining to pawnbrokers and secondhand precious metal dealers and to establish a schedule of fees for construction or business applications, licenses and permit fees in Skowhegan.

Permits are required for stores such as jewelry shops, based on an addition in 2013 to the pawnbrokers’ law. The permit fee would be $55. Reporting transactions to police, as is required, would be flexible within a 15-day window to ensure quick turnover if market prices suddenly drop.

Skowhegan residents also will be asked whether the town should buy a 30-foot-wide public easement from the Skowhegan Economic Development Corp. for $15,000 around the downtown site of the former Kennebec Valley Inn and whether to authorize selectmen to buy a piece of property for a price not to exceed $55,000 as the future site of a combined public safety building on East Madison Road.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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