Lisbon aims to allow sale, use of fireworks

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LISBON — While several nearby communities work on bans for the sale and use of fireworks, leaders in town want to allow them.

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday during the Town Council’s 7 p.m. meeting at the town office. The council is also slated to take a second, binding vote on a rule that would create a layer of restrictions on fireworks’ sale and use.

However, that vote could be postponed, said Fern Larochelle, chairman of the Town Council.

“I’m interested in hearing what the public has to say,” he said. The council may wish to refine the ordinance it passed unanimously on the first reading. 

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“We’re trying to find the right response to the state,” Larochelle said.

Last year, the Maine Legislature lifted its statewide fireworks ban, sending the matter to individual towns and cities to examine. Already, Auburn, Portland and Augusta have passed citywide bans. Lewiston city councilors are contemplating a prohibition.

Lisbon leaders wanted to go in another direction, Larochelle said.

“I don’t think a ban is going to stop people from using fireworks,” he said. Instead it seemed reasonable to enact rules that would encourage responsible use. 

As it now stands, the proposed ordinance would allow fireworks to be used on three days a year: Jan. 1, July 4 and Dec. 31. It would also ban their use on public property or within 75 feet of any building.

Larochelle said he may consider an option that would allow people to use fireworks at other times, if they receive a town permit and never during a period of high fire danger.

“It might be like getting a burning permit,” he said.

On the retail side, some strict federal guidelines are already in place, said Steve Eldridge, Lisbon’s town manager. The proposed ordinance would require a permit to sell fireworks. It also lists penalties for unpermitted sales.

Several businesses are looking at Lisbon as a possible site for a fireworks store, Scott Benson, Lisbon’s director of economic and community development, said.

“We’ve had inquiries and we continue to work with one individual in particular,” Benson said.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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