LEWISTON — The city may ban smoking at all city parks and recreational facilities, deciding to extend an earlier proposal to prohibit smoking at a popular downtown park.

During a City Council workshop Tuesday, City Administrator Ed Barrett said councilors previously discussed banning smoking in a single location — Dufresne Plaza — but that officials wanted to expand it to all city parks. According to at least one councilor, others would like to see the ban go even further.

David Dubord, who co-owns a building at 86 Lisbon St., originally brought the issue of smoking at Dufresne Plaza to city officials. He described the plaza as a thoroughfare in downtown Lewiston for people walking to or from the courts, work and/or surrounding restaurants.

“It’s become a smoking hangout in some respects,” he told the council Tuesday. “It’s difficult to get through the plaza without going through secondhand smoke.”

He said the ground is often littered with cigarette butts, adding, “I don’t think we’re putting our best foot forward” with that image in such a public location. Dumond said he also supports the broader ban for all city parks.

During the workshop discussion, councilors were told city ordinances would have to be updated to reflect the particular rules and fines for violations.

Barrett suggested the city match the fine system to one recently passed by the council, which prohibits smoking in the St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center zone. It’s the only restriction on smoking in a public right of way, Barrett said. The fine scale, he said, is $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $300 for a third.

Councilor Alicia Rea said she’s heard from constituents, including many business owners, who would like the smoking ban extended to the downtown Lisbon Street business area.

Barrett said a larger ban focused on the downtown area should be a separate ordinance, with more clarity on the specific location of the ban.

The council will take a first reading of the expanded parks ordinance on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Marijuana ordinance

Also on Tuesday, the city received an update on a zoning ordinance that will regulate adult use and medical marijuana in the city, which is the result of a lengthy process by city staff.

Planning and Code Enforcement Director David Hediger said the ordinance limits adult-use growing to indoors in order to cut down on odor complaints. However, he said odor complaints received by the city now are often found to be indoor grows.

“If they can’t control the odor inside, how are they going to control it outside?” he said.

Councilor Jim Lysen said prohibiting outdoor grows for personal use is “not logical to me.” Others said that if outdoor grows were allowed for personal use, they’d like to see a smaller cap on how many plants a person can grow.

The ordinance is also intended to establish limits on where marijuana businesses can operate in the community, including setbacks from schools and other public places that are measured from property line to property line, not door to door like some communities.

If passed, Lewiston would join a few municipalities in establishing such an ordinance as the state continues to roll out the regulatory system for adult-use marijuana.

Businesses that were operating prior to Dec. 13, 2018, were grandfathered in Lewiston, meaning they will be considered a “nonconforming” use under the new zoning ordinance. However, the final language could determine how many businesses can be sustained.

“I’m going to say now, I’m not sure how this is going to work,” Hediger said, adding that to some degree, the market could decide.

In presenting the proposed licensing fee structure, Hediger compared it to other communities that have already passed marijuana ordinances. While most of the Lewiston fees are similar, there is a big difference in fees for retail stores. Auburn put in place annual fees of $5,000 for adult use and medical retail stores, and the proposed fee in Lewiston is $1,500.

Following questions from councilors, Barrett said the city could decide to make the fee structure more consistent with neighboring Auburn. Councilor Zack Pettengill said he’d be in favor of making the licensing fees slightly higher than Auburn’s, but most agreed that they should be similar.

During the workshop, marijuana business owners who spoke seemed most concerned with a section of the ordinance that prohibits delivery, arguing that a portion of their business is to medical customers who aren’t capable of getting to a store.

The council is expected to formally vote on the ordinance this coming fall.


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