WATERVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday will consider taking a first vote to extend the plastic bag ban launch date beyond April 22, the date on which the ban was to go into effect.

Councilors also will consider a final vote to adopt a marijuana ordinance as recommended by the city’s Marijuana Study Committee.

The meeting will be at  7 p.m. in the Chace Community Forum at the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons at 150 Main St. downtown.

Margaret Withee, a cashier at Save-A-Lot, stands at her register with plastic bags that cost 10 cents each draped over the register partitions at Save-A-Lot in downtown Waterville on March 15. Morning Sentinel file photo by Michael G. Seamans

The council on March 19 voted to certify election results that show voters on Nov. 6 approved a plastic bag ban that prohibits businesses 10,000 square feet or larger in size to dispense single-use plastic bags.

City Solicitor Willam A. Lee III suggested recently that councilors could pass an amendment to the bag ban ordinance that would delay its implementation until September, after the voting issue has been resolved. Such an amendment requires two votes and the council may take the first vote Tuesday.

Residents Cathy and Jonathan Weeks, as well as Sean Caron, are asking the city’s Voter Registration Appeals Board to look at 75 voters who cast ballots on the bag ban issue in the Nov. 6 election. That board is planning to schedule hearings, possibly to start as early as late April, with those 75 voters.

The appeal by the Weekses and Caron says they suspect the challenged voters swore an oath of residency and submitted no other proof of residency to confirm the validity of their oath. They say that oath is a statement of intention that by its definition does not meet the standard of proof required by law and requires additional evidence that the voters established residency.

The challengers initially took the issue to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which dismissed the case and determined the ballots are no longer challenged because the opponents failed to file paperwork requested by the court.

In other business, the council will consider taking a final vote to adopt a marijuana ordinance that would regulate adult use and medical marijuana facilities in the city.

Councilors on March 19 took a first vote to adopt the ordinance, following a discussion about where the facilities may be located and how the rules regulating them would be enforced.

The council voted 5-2, with councilors Phil Bofia, R-Ward 2, and Jay Coelho, D-Ward 5, opposing the ordinance adoption.

The ordinance, developed by the city’s Marijuana Study Committee, says the terms of the ordinance shall have the same definition as the state’s law regulating medical and adult use marijuana. Waterville’s ordinance requires anyone wanting to establish, operate or maintain an adult use or medical marijuana facility to apply for and receive a permit from the city, but before that, he or she must obtain conditional approval from the state.

Adult use and medical marijuana retail stores would be allowed only in the Commercial B, C and D zones, as well as in general industrial zones of the city, according to the ordinance. Adult use and medical marijuana extraction facilities would be allowed only in the General Industrial zone; adult use and medical marijuana testing facilities, only in the Commercial B, C and D zones, and adult use and medical marijuana cultivation, only in Rural Residential, Commercial C and General Industrial zones.

They may not be operated within 500 feet of school property lines or religious institutions or activities, the ordinance says.

The ordinance would prohibit all types of facilities from being in the Commercial-A and Downtown Industrial zones, an area that some people designate as the downtown area, according to Dan Bradstreet, the city’s director of code enforcement.

 

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

 

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