Cumberland council enacts marijuana moratorium, OKs fire station addition

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday unanimously enacted a two-month moratorium on retail marijuana sales.

Councilors also unanimously approved borrowing up to $4.1 million to build an addition to Central Fire Station and accepted additional recommendations from the Central Fire Station Building Committee: authorization to enter a contract with an architect and a construction management process, as well as continuing the building committee’s charge.

Town Manager Bill Shane said in an interview Tuesday that he expects the town to sign contracts with a construction management company and architect by mid-December.

The moratorium on retail marijuana businesses followed the narrow passage Nov. 8 of a statewide referendum to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana as an agricultural product. A recount of last week’s vote is expected.

The moratorium gives the town’s Ordinance Committee “some time to work with the new laws, if so passed,” Shane said.

The council in January formed a committee to review space and storage at the fire station, as well as an inventory of the building’s apparatus, in order to develop a needs analysis, building assessment, and conceptual site plan for the department.

The town also selected Port City Architecture to produce a preliminary design report, which included the $4.1 million estimate – a figure shaved down from a $5.1 million total rebuild.

Most of the funding for the project is in Cumberland’s capital budget, according to Councilor Tom Gruber.

The project is not required to go to referendum, since the Cumberland Town Council is authorized to OK expenditures of this size, Shane has said.

The expansion would occur next to the station, replacing a house the town bought more than 20 years ago and has since used for sleeping quarters for emergency personnel.

After demolishing the house and the station’s administrative section, a two-story addition would be built, along with a lower level accessed off a new 27-space parking lot. An existing parking lot with 22 spaces would remain.

The first floor would house apparatus bays, administrative areas and community paramedicine space; the second would house living quarters, a day room, and kitchen and fitness areas. Training and medical equipment loan spaces, an emergency operations center, and a kitchen and community room would be on the lower level.

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

The Cumberland Town Council on Nov. 14 approved bonding up to $4.1 million to build an addition to Central Fire Station.

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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.