Topsham selectmen send fireworks questions to June ballot

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously April 5 to put two fireworks-related referendum questions on the June 12 ballot.

The board also voted unanimously to have the Planning Board review ordinance language proposed in one of the questions. That language deals with where fireworks could be sold, which selectmen recommended be restricted to the Mixed Use Commercial Zone.

Chairman Donald Russell suggested the restriction, which would limit fireworks sales to the Topsham Fair Mall area.

The Planning Board will discuss the matter Tuesday, April 17, and have a recommendation for the Board of Selectmen meeting two days later.

The two ballot questions each present three choices. The first questions asks about the sale of consumer fireworks, while the second involves fireworks use. Voters will be asked to pick one of the three options in each question.

Question 1A asks 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 asks voters if they want to enact a zoning ordinance regulating fireworks sales; 1C asks 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 of Selectmen voted last December to take no action on a fireworks ordinance until it could develop language for Town Meeting. The board opted last month to instead send the matter to referendum.

Consumer fireworks are currently legal in Topsham under the 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.