Town manager Tony Plante presented to council members a draft copy of the ordinance originally considered when allowing fireworks in Maine first became law. Two items in particular were the focus of conversation. First, the allowance of fireworks only on Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. to which Nadeau replied, “I think this (draft) looks good except the item that specifies use confined to Saturdays. I’m with the rest of this draft, but allowing them just Saturday is almost like doing nothing.”
Chapman also expressed concern over this stipulation with concern of over-regulation. “I’m not going to support every Saturday or even every other Saturday because of the summer people. Many of our visitors leave on Saturday.” While this council meeting was minus two members, Chapman continued, “I know how Roy and Dennis are going to vote so this isn’t going to happen.”
The second item discussed revolved around section 5 of Gorham’s ordinance, which nearly mirrors the content of Windham’s and states: “No person shall use, display, fire or cause to exploded consumer fireworks within 150 feet of any buildings or structures.” This struck a positive cord among members and all were in agreement it should be incorporated.
Nangle emphasized its justification by revisiting the last session when personal property damage was reported in the form of a boat cover. “I don’t think it is right that someone should have to replace a boat cover just so someone else can set off fireworks.”
In conclusion, Plante said, “Remember this is a legislative process and when you get to a vote it’s not necessarily an all or nothing proposition. There’s opportunity to amend or compromise so if there is a provision in there that you are not happy with but fine with everything else, by all means try to amend it. But I don’t think we have to reach a unanimous decision tonight.”
In a conversation following the meeting Plante shared the following, “This is a 180 degree turn for the council in response to public concerns. Prior to this, from the time consumer fireworks laws went into effect, the council chose to rely and subsequently operate on those laws. But because of numerous complaints this is where we landed.”
The Windham Town Council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Windham Town Hall to receive comment on the proposed Consumer Fireworks Ordinance, Chapter 96 of the Code of the Town of Windham. A copy of the ordinance is available in the town clerk's office and on the town's web site at www.windhammaine.us/DocumentCenter/View/2761.