Methadone treatmentIssue: A Minot Avenue metal fabrication business is looking for government help to expand.

Labor contracts

Issue: Police will get breaks on their health insurance premiums when they quit smoking, lose weight or make other lifestyle choices under a new labor deal approved Monday.
The scoop: The contract increases the premiums employees pay for health insurance. They get part back when they agree to a health screening, join an exercise program, quit smoking and manage their weight.

Up next: Councilors ratified the three-year contract with the Maine Association of Police patrol unit Monday.

Issue: Rumors in 2005 that an outpatient drug treatment program was considering expanding into Central Maine led communities, including Auburn, to ban methadone treatment clinics while they investigated permanent changes. Methadone is used to treat addiction to drugs such as heroin or OxyContin.

The scoop: New zoning rules in Auburn will limit the clinics to certain districts and keep them from being built within 2,000 feet of a school, church, day-care, park or playground. Councilors liked the idea the first time they saw it, on Nov. 5.
Up next: Councilors approved three zoning ordinances making those changes on final reading Monday.

Liquor licenses

Issue: Local restaurants and bars must reapply for liquor licenses and amusement permits each year. Liquor licenses let them serve alcohol; amusement permits let them play music, have a DJ or karaoke, or have games.

The scoop: Councilors renewed the liquor license for Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill, 559 Center St.

Gamage building

Issue: When Stephen Martelli’s three-unit apartment building at 5 Gamage Ave. was destroyed by fire in 2005, he said he would rebuild. Now a deal with the city will let that happen.
The scoop: Parking requirements for that neighborhood require any builder to provide a certain number of spaces for tenants’ vehicles. Zoning requirements on Martelli’s lot would require him to provide more room for parking than he has land.

Under Monday’s agreement, the city will sell Martelli the adjoining lot at 1 Gamage Ave. for $10. That lets him meet his parking needs and plan his project. He also agrees to maintain at least six spaces for public parking and keep the right of way open, allowing access to Union Street Gully Park. He will also pay property taxes on the land.
Up next: Councilors approved the sale.

Pine Tree Zone

The scoop: The city set its Pine Tree Zone boundaries in 2004, and businesses in those areas can qualify for state tax and economic development incentives when they expand.
Owners of Northeast Welding and Fabrication Inc. at 928 Minot Ave. are hoping to expand, but the business is not located in the city’s Pine Tree Zone.

Up next: Councilors agreed to make the company’s 3.3 acres part of the incentive zone, but had to remove a similar sized lot from the zone adopted in 2004. They agreed to remove a chunk of land from a 42-acre lot south of the

Firearms zone

Issue: Firing guns and hunting will no longer be allowed along Whitman Spring Road because of increased residential growth there.

The scoop: Councilors began looking at a new firearms discharge map in 2005, and created a committee to review the city’s rules and create a new map. The new zone takes development and growth into account. Councilors voted in favor of the measure at their first reading earlier this month.
Up next: Councilors approved the bigger firearm zone on final reading.

Contact government reporter Scott Taylor at 689-2846 or at [email protected]

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