WATERVILLE — The City Council on Wednesday will elect a new chairman and consider rezoning church property on Eustis Parkway to allow the Children’s Discovery Museum to move there from Augusta.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Chace Community Forum at the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons downtown.

The council usually meets on Tuesday, but it will meet Wednesday this week, as Tuesday is New Year’s Day, a holiday.

The new council chairman will replace Steve Soule, D-Ward 1, who chose not to seek re-election in November. Mike Morris, also a Democrat, will be sworn in Wednesday as the Ward 1 councilor; and Democrat Erik Thomas, who was elected in November to the Ward 7 seat, also will be sworn in.

Thomas is a former council chairman who replaces Jackie Dupont, a Democrat, who chose not to seek re-election to the Ward 7 seat.

The Children’s Discovery Museum, now located at 171 Capitol St. in Augusta, wants to lease space in the First Congregational United Church of Christ at 7 Eustis Parkway with a plan to buy the building eventually.

The Planning Board on Dec. 17 voted 6-0 to recommend the council rezone the church property from Residential-B to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A to allow that to happen, though museum officials have said they are not sure when it would move.

Mike Muir, the church’s moderator and lay leader, said at the Planning Board meeting that the church is in the process of identifying another location and is working with the Children’s Discovery Museum on a lease-purchase agreement.

The proposed condition of the contract zone is that the only permitted uses of the property would be a children’s museum, a day-care center and the existing church. The council, which is the only panel authorized to make zone changes, must take two votes on the rezoning request and may take only one vote Wednesday.

In other matters, the council will consider extending a marijuana moratorium and appointing people to various boards and committees.

The council on Jan. 17, 2018, voted unanimously to adopt a 180-day moratorium on retail marijuana establishments, including stores and social clubs.

At the time, City Manager Michael Roy said a moratorium would prevent the establishment of retail stores in Waterville while the city studies the issue further.

The council on Jan. 3, 2017, took a first vote to adopt the moratorium ordinance on retail marijuana establishments; but on Sept. 19 that year, it postponed taking a final vote.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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