Greenwood will vote on fireworks ordinance
At an upcoming special town meeting, Greenwood selectmen will propose that fireworks be restricted to days around July 4th and Labor Day of each year.
The ordinance proposal comes in response to citizen complaints about the use of fireworks in town, especially around lakes and ponds. A public hearing took place last month.
The state legalized consumer fireworks beginning this year, but also allowed for municipalities to ban or restrict them within their borders.
Consumer fireworks are currently allowed generally between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., but they may be also used between 9 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. on July 4, Dec. 31, and the weekends immediately before and after July 4 and Dec. 31.
The Greenwood board last week pondered whether to propose a complete ban or to restrict use, and how soon to hold a town vote.
“Some people at the hearing want something as soon as possible,” said Selectman Chairman Fred Henderson, adding that he thinks most want some sort of restriction.
Selectman Amy Chapman said she favored an ordinance, even though the town does not have the means to enforce it.
“I think we have to discount that [an ordinance] is not enforceable,” she said. “The jet ski ban has been very effective, even though it’s easier to catch someone on a jet ski than with fireworks. I think there’s a pretty good percentage of people who aren’t going to deliberately break the law.”
She advocated for an ordinance restricting fireworks use. “Then if people are really unhappy, they can ask for a ban next time,” she said.
Selectman Arnie Jordan agreed. “I think most people, from what I’ve heard, are willing to go with a limited one. Personally, I can’t see it for New Year’s. Most celebrations are going to be inside. Maybe Labor Day weekend – the end of the summer – people come here for the last weekend, and we’ll give them a couple of days.”
“That would make us different from any other town,” said Chapman, but added that Labor Day weekend would be a likely time for fireworks use.
The board agreed to propose use only on the following days: July 4 from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; July 3 and 5 from 8 to 10 p.m., and the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“We don’t want people wasting their money shooting them off in the daylight,” said Chapman.
Jordan said his vote for state legislative representatives will be influenced by the fireworks issue.
He said that while he voted for Rep. Tom Winsor (R-Norway) last time, he would not again.
Jordan said legislators should have considered that small towns have no means to enforce fireworks restrictions when they took up the proposed law last year.
Chapman said that because large towns and cities can enforce restrictions, “it pushes all the activity into the small towns.”
A special Greenwood town meeting to consider the restrictions will be scheduled as soon as possible, but officials will allow time to gather information for warrant articles on two other issues.
Town Manager Kim Sparks said Fire Chief Al Curtis hopes to purchase a fire truck from the Greenwood, Del. Fire Department “for a really good price,” and the town also hopes to have a culvert design for Johnny’s Bridge prepared for town consideration.
A public hearing on all the issues will be scheduled before the town meeting.
In other business last week, selectmen awarded the winter road sand bid to Hadley’s of West Paris for $11,500 for the season.
They also signed paperwork to set the mil rate at 11.65, the same as last year. Sparks noted the town had lost about $250,000 in property valuation from Mt. Abram because its lodge burned down last year and had not been replaced, but other new valuation had roughly balanced that out.
Sparks also said that at an upcoming G&W Transfer Station board meeting, Greenwood and Woodstock need to discuss shared responsibility for repairs to the transfer station backhoe.
“Our highway guys have spent a lot of time repairing equipment for G&W,” she said.
The board heard an update from Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey-Whitman on a property that is in violation of the state junkyard law.