Topsham selectmen seek fireworks input via online poll

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen is seeking residents’ input about local fireworks regulations through an online questionnaire.

The survey, available at topshammaine.com/survey, is prompted by a state law that takes effect Jan. 1, 2012. That law legalizes consumer fireworks, but allows municipalities to enact local restrictions on use and sale.

The poll asks residents whether Topsham should ban or regulate the sale or use of fireworks, or rely on the state to regulate their sale or use.

The Board of Selectmen discussed the matter with the town’s public safety officials in a workshop Dec. 1. Between now and the May 2012 Town Meeting the town will develop an ordinance likely to allow the conditional use and sale of fireworks, Town Manager Cornell Knight said Monday.

He said conditions could be that fireworks would only be allowed on private property, away from buildings; would not be allowed on dry days, when there is an increased fire hazard, and would be allowed to be sold or used in only specific parts of town.

Knight said the Board of Selectmen will discuss the survey at its Thursday, Dec. 15, meeting.

“If there were a strong indication (in the survey) that the community didn’t want use and sale, then the board could take action sooner than May,” Knight said.

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.