Lewiston City Council Workshop and regular meeting

July 19, 2016

Lewiston City Hall

Urban chickens move along
What happened: The fate of Lewiston’s would-be urban chicken owners is up to the Planning Board now after city councilors adopted the first draft of an ordinance change.
What it means: Residents of the city’s Rural Agriculture zone can keep chickens if they live on lots of three acres or more. The birds are not allowed elsewhere in the city.
The proposed ordinance allows property owners on a 30,000-square-foot lot  in most residential zones to keep up to six egg-laying hens in an enclosure after paying a one-time $40 fee.
What’s Next: The Planning Board, which turned down a proposal to allow chickens earlier this year, gets to review the matter. It will come back to the council for a final vote when the Planning Board is done with it.  

Bond refunding
What happened: Like refinancing a mortgage to snag a better interest rate, Lewiston councilors will refund the 2009 bond issue.
What it means: The city still owes $3.6 million on those bonds, used to pay for roads and utility work and city equipment in 2009 and 2010. The city pays between 3.5 and 4 percent in interest on the bond, but Finance Director Heather Hunter said the city can get a 2.5 percent rate by refunding those bonds now, saving $319,000 over the next 10 years. Councilors agreed.
What’s Next: The bond sale will occur this fall.  

Drinks and other amusements
What happened: She Doesn’t Like Guthries, Baxter Brewing Co. and the Acme Social Club are all clear to offer entertainment with their spirits for another year, after councilors renewed special amusement permits for those establishments.
What it means: While liquor licenses do not expire unless the business closes or changes hands, special amusement permits must be renewed by councilors each year. The special amusement permits allow on-site entertainment, including music from a disc jockey or a live band, karaoke and dancing.
Councilors also granted outdoor entertainment events for three summertime happenings, a July 30 concert and LA Community Unity Barbecue in Kennedy Park sponsored by the Maine People’s Alliance, an Aug. 5 concert and pergola dedication in Pettengill Park and the Great Falls Balloon Festival Aug. 19-21.  

Water service
What happened: The city and Community Credit Union will split the cost for a new water service at a new building at 895 Sabattus St.
What it means: Lewiston crews installed a new waterline on Sabattus Street in 2015, bypassing the vacant lot at 895 Sabattus St. Credit Union officials said the city was aware of their planned office expansion project and should have expanded service to the lot, vacant or not. City staff said they were not aware, and do not provide water service to vacant lots as a rule.
After some negotiations, city councilors agreed the city and the credit union both share some responsibility and agreed to pay $4,360 toward the water service.
What’s Next: Water service is just one of the hurdles for the project. A site plan for the proposed building is expected to come before councilors in August and the Credit Union also needs to state approval to change some traffic patterns on Sabattus Street.  

Art in the park
What happened: A Wednesday afternoon program run by the Lewiston and Auburn recreation departments can accept help and donations, councilors agreed Tuesday.
What it means: The 37-year-old program Wednesdays in the Park offers performances and shows around Lewiston and Auburn for four weeks each summer. It’s largely supported by local businesses that provide money and in-kind services, such as printing posters. Councilors on Tuesday agreed to accept $1,425 in sponsorships for the programs.
What’s next: The program continues at 10 a.m. July 27 at Simard-Payne Memorial Park with magician and juggler Phil Smith. It’s free and open to the public.  

Garage Grant
What happened: The city will try to get a $250,000 grant to expand the Lincoln Street parking garage.
What it means: Redevelopment of the Bates Mill complex and the Riverfront Island area means more people are expected to visit, which means more cars and the need for more parking spaces. Councilors agreed to apply for a $250,000 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission to expand the Lincoln Street garage. If the city gets the grant, Lewiston would have to set aside $50,000 for the project. The estimated cost to expand that garage is $10 million.
What’s Next: The application is ready to go, pending the council’s approval and now the city waits to see if the application is successful.  


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