City Council 11/10 Meeting Summary

At the City’s Council’s regular meeting on November 10, the following items were among those presented or discussed:

  • Mayor Tom Cote offered congratulations to Mayor-Elect Anne-Marie Mastraccio; to Jonathan Martell on his election to City Council, and to Maura Herlihy on her reelection; and to Lucas Lanigan and Victor DiGregorio on running positive campaigns for Mayor. He has reached out to Rep. Mastraccio and will assist her with the transition as their schedules allow.
  • City Manager Steven Buck presented the certified election results. One notable statistic was that 59.7% of the votes cast in Sanford and Springvale were absentee. He thanked City Clerk Sue Cote and her staff for a great job with the entire election process. His sentiments were echoed by the Mayor and Council. He said the ballot drop box will be stored for the winter, but it will be used for all future elections.
  • Mr. Buck gave a presentation on the Covid-19 situation here in York County versus the state as a whole. While the number of cases is increasing here, the statistics show it is not increasing as fast as in many other parts of the state.
  • The Council voted unanimously to revise Sanford’s mask ordinance to align with the Governor’s latest Executive Order. The Order specifies that face coverings must be worn in public settings regardless of ability to social distance; and expands the definition of public settings to include social clubs and houses of worship, among many other places. There was lengthy discussion of the enforcement part of the ordinance, and how that may be affected by Maine’s status as a “home rule” state, in which state law supersedes local ordinances. Since the Governor’s Order states that it is subject to “all available methods of enforcement,” it may not conflict with Sanford’s lighter penalties for violation; but the city attorney will be consulted to make sure. The ordinance expires on December 11, so will be revisited at the first Council meeting in December.
  • Councilor Robert Stackpole suggested the city do more to promote the ways residents can conduct business such as car registrations, dog licensing and paying property taxes online, so that people could avoid going to City Hall as much as possible.
  • A public hearing and first reading on proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance was held, but no public comment was received. One proposed amendment to the Industrial Reuse zone would allow for some residential use on the first floor of Vertical Mixed Use properties (e.g. the Sanford Mill, which is having difficulty finding commercial tenants). Another proposed amendment would combine the two Land Use Tables into one table to make it easier to use. The second reading will be held at the next Council meeting on November 24.
  • The Council approved the purchase of a set of six new lifts for the Municipal Garage. The bid of $73, 886.71 from Automotive Garage Tools of Windham was the highest one received; but had been justified by Public Works Director Matthew Hill at the last Property Subcommittee meeting as being the only one offering equipment that met the department’s requirements. The new lifts, capable of hoisting a dump truck, will replace a set that no longer passes safety inspection.
  • Mr. Buck spoke about a Zoom meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 12, to talk about the possibility of Sanford becoming a Maine Downtown Affiliate. This is a designation for communities that are beginning the downtown revitalization process. Anne Ball of the Maine Development Foundation will lead the discussion, which is open to anyone interested in the future of downtown Sanford. Councilor Ayn Hanselmann, the Sanford Growth Council and the Chamber of Commerce have been reaching out to business owners to encourage participation.
  • The Council approved a medical marijuana grower/cultivator license for Captains Cannabis LLC, 168 Country Club Road, Unit E. A public hearing was held but no public comment was received. Code Enforcement Officer Jamie Cole said the operation had passed inspection.
  • Mr. Buck gave an update on the Holdsworth Park (Springvale Rec) improvements which are well underway. The improvements were part of the city’s Master Plan, and are being funded by trust funds set aside for the purpose.
  • There was some discussion about holiday celebrations, including Christmas tree lighting and a possible parade; but it was deferred until next week’s Property Subcommittee meeting.