Topsham selectmen consider fireworks rules

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen is scheduled Thursday, March 8, to discuss several options concerning the sale and use of consumer fireworks in town.

On the board’s agenda are proposed ordinances that would ban the sale and use of fireworks. Two other items involve proposed amendments to the Topsham Code – one regarding the sale of consumer fireworks in certain areas of town, and the other concerning the use of those devices with some restrictions, such as distance from a building and only being allowed on non-fire hazard days.

“If they’re not issuing fire burning permits, then they aren’t going to allow the use of fireworks,” Town Manager Cornell Knight said on Monday.

The board opted last December to take no action on a fireworks ordinance until it could develop language for this May’s Town Meeting. Until then fireworks are legal under a new state law that took effect Jan. 1.

Results were mixed in an online town survey posted late last year that sought input from residents about local fireworks regulations. Respondents voted 105-104 that Topsham should not ban the sale and 95-91 that the town should ban the use.

The proposed ordinance calling for a ban on consumer fireworks use stipulates a first-offense penalty of $200 to $400, “plus costs associated with prosecuting the violation and any response from the Topsham Fire Department made necessary by such violation.”

Second and further offenses would carry a penalty of $300 to $600 for each violation, along with costs.

Town Meeting is scheduled for May 16. A public hearing on the meeting warrant is planned for April.

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.