Topsham selectmen mull fireworks ballot questions

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen is expected to vote Thursday on the language of fireworks-related referendum questions for the June 12 ballot.

The board voted 4-1 last month to send the questions to referendum, instead of to the May 16 Town Meeting. Selectman David Douglass opposed the motion.

Two ballot questions, each with three parts, could go to voters in June. The first regards the sale of consumer fireworks, while the second involves fireworks use.

Question 1A would ask 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?”

Question 2A asks the same thing, but in respect to the use of consumer fireworks.

Question 1B would ask voters whether they want to enact a zoning ordinance regulating fireworks sales; 1C would ask whether an ordinance prohibiting those sales should be enacted.

The second and third parts of Question 2 also involve ordinances to either regulate fireworks use, or ban it.

The board voted last December to take no action on a fireworks ordinance until it could develop language for Town Meeting. Fireworks are therefore now legal in Topsham under a 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 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.