Topsham enacts fireworks ban

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TOPSHAM — A ban on the sale and use of consumer fireworks will go into effect immediately as a result of a referendum vote Tuesday, Town Manager Cornell Knight said Wednesday.

Knight said voters were asked whether they would allow the sale or use of fireworks under state regulation, under local regulation, or not at all.

“You (had) to give (voters) the option of not wanting either of them,” Knight explained. “That’s what we did. That’s what had the most votes. That’s the vote we’ll follow.”

Separate ballot questions Tuesday on the sale and use of fireworks each presented voters with three choices.

The first question asked about the sale of consumer fireworks, while the second involved fireworks use. Voters were asked to pick one of the three options in each question.

Question 1A asked whether the town should “neither regulate nor prohibit the sale of consumer fireworks and therefore permit the sale of consumer fireworks in accordance with state law?” That question received 436 votes.

Question 2A asked the same thing, but in respect to the use of consumer fireworks, and received 419 votes.

Question 1B asked voters if they wanted to enact a zoning ordinance regulating fireworks sales, which 227 voters favored. Question 1C asked whether an ordinance prohibiting those sales should be enacted, and 565 – the majority – voted for that option.

The second and third parts of Question 2 also involved ordinances to either regulate fireworks use, or ban it. Two hundred fifty-nine voters favored regulation, while 540 preferred prohibition.

The Board of Selectmen voted last December to take no action on a fireworks ordinance until it could develop language for Town Meeting. The board opted in March to instead send the matter to referendum.

An online town survey posted late last year, which sought input from residents about local fireworks regulations, drew mixed results. Participants voted 105-104 that Topsham should not prohibit the sale, and 95-91 that the town should ban the use.

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.