Fireworks vote before residents

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WATERFORD — A public hearing will be held on the proposed ban on consumer fireworks – both selling and using – on Monday, Jan. 8.

The hearing will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Office, 366 Valley Rd.

In August, resident Bill Roy, president of the McWain Shores Association, presented a proposed ordinance that would ban the sale and use of consumer fireworks in town, except on July 4 and Dec. 31/Jan 1 and the weekends before and after those two holidays.

The petition cited numerous complaints to the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office and the Town Office, and harmful effects of late-night explosions on military veterans, pets and livestock.

Selectmen agreed to refine the ordinance and present it to voters at the March Annual Town Meeting for consideration.

According to the proposed ordinance, no person shall use, possess with the intent to use, sell, possess with the intent to sell or offer for sale consumer fireworks in Waterford except for persons who have been issued a fireworks display permit by Waterford or the state.

Any person who uses consumer fireworks or possesses consumer fireworks with the intent to use in Waterford will be punished by a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $400, plus costs. For second and subsequent offenses, a fine of not less than $300 will be imposed and not more than $600 per violation plus costs.

The ordinance further states that any person who sells consumer fireworks or possesses consumer fireworks with the intent to sell in Waterford will be punished by a fine of not less than $500 plus costs. For second and subsequent offenses, a fine of not less than $1,000 per violation plus costs will be imposed.
Under the proposed ordinance, the town may seize consumer fireworks that it has probable cause to believe are used, possessed or sold in violation of this ordinance and will forfeit seized consumer fireworks to the State for disposal.
Not everyone has been happy with the plan. According to the minutes of the selectmen’s meetings, in November, Bruce Whichard, a summer resident of McWain Pond, attended a board meeting to say that he and his family have a fireworks display on the Fourth of July on a barge on McWain Pond. He said his son also hosts another display later in the summer where he collects donations for the Honor Flight Maine program that transports veterans to Washington D.C. to visit war memorials.

Whichard expressed concern about how the permit process and any fees might affect his project, according to the meeting minutes.

The ordinance can not be amended on the town meeting floor. It will be a simple yes or no vote.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net