2012-02-07 / Local

Topsham talks pyrotechnics

BY DARCIE MOORE Times Record Staff

TOPSHAM

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing tonight on proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance related to regulating the sale of consumer fireworks.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the municipal building, 100 Main St.

A new state law legalized fireworks in Maine as of Jan. 1. At a meeting on Dec. 15, 2011, the Board of Selectmen opted to continue working on an ordinance regulating fireworks within town to bring to a town meeting vote in May. Also discussed at that meeting was holding a special town meeting to ban or pass a moratorium on the sale and use of fireworks.

On Jan. 17, the Planning Board held a workshop on fireworks, which included looking at language related to the sale of consumer fireworks. That measure will be presented to voters at the May town meeting.

The draft ordinance refers to the state statute regulating fireworks, including the definition of consumer fireworks. It states, “No business or individual may sell consumer fireworks without first obtaining a conditional use permit from the Planning Board. In addition, an annual license from the codes enforcement office will be required.”

To obtain this annual license, which under the proposed ordinance language would require a $150 yearly fee, the applicant must comply with several standards.

Adoption of the ordinance as proposed would allow sale of consumer fireworks in some zones. It would be prohibited entirely in other zones.

Also part of the draft standards, sales could only take place from a building that is the primary structure on a parcel. No sales could take place outdoors or under a tent covering — or after 10 p.m. or before 9 a.m. Proof of compliance with all current state, federal and local regulations, as well as possession of a federal permit to sell fireworks, would be required.

All facilities selling fireworks would need to be inspected annually by the codes enforcement officer and fire chief for compliance with town code and the National Fire Protection Association code.

A workshop on the sign ordinance is scheduled to take place after the fireworks ordinance discussion.

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