Bath bans fireworks, delays reconsideration of Armory group

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BATH — The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a prohibition on the sale and use of consumer fireworks.

The ordinance, which received first passage last month, attracted no comments from either councilors or members of the public at the second reading.

A state law legalizing the sale and use of consumer fireworks took effect Jan. 1. But the law allows municipalities to enact local restrictions. Consumer fireworks do not include missile-type rockets, helicopters and aerial spinners, or sky and bottle rockets. The ban will not apply to someone who has been issued a fireworks display permit by the city or state.

The council also unanimously tabled until its Thursday, Jan. 19, workshop a discussion about a nonprofit corporation that would oversee and operate the former National Guard Armory. Councilors also tabled until their next regular meeting in February an order that would rescind creation of that corporation.

Last month the council approved borrowing $308,000 for a basic renovation of the armory, now owned by the city. It also supported the Old Brunswick Road building becoming the home of the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark.

A last-minute addition to last month’s agenda, which the City Council approved 5-4, established a city-owned corporation to operate the armory. The Parks and Recreation Department would continue to run the Skatepark program, which had operated at the former YMCA on Summer Street.

Councilors Steve Brackett, Meadow Rue Merrill, Kyle Rogers, Ruthe Pagurko and Chairman David Sinclair voted in favor of the corporation, while Vice Chairman Sean Paulhus and Councilors Bernard Wyman, Mari Eosco and Andrew Winglass were opposed.

Eosco, who sponsored the order to rescind the order creating the corporation, noted Wednesday that she is not opposed to the board’s existance, but rather “the process that we’ve gone through thus far. I feel like we were blindsided at the last meeting … some people knew about it coming in, some of us didn’t. We didn’t have time to talk about it, (and) research it.”

“I felt like we jumped the gun in moving toward this,” she added.

Merrill said she is on the fence, noting that “there are issues that should probably be discussed in workshop.”

The council on Wednesday gave unanimous first approval to an ordinance regulating wireless communication facilities.

The language, approved by the Planning Board last November, would generally bar cell towers from open spaces and coastal areas. The prohibition would also apply to downtown areas, unless the towers are completely hidden within structures.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.