City Council 11/24 Meeting Summary

Artist's rendering of proposed improvements to Main St. by Sunset Tower.

At the Sanford City Council’s regular meeting on November 24, the following items were among those presented or discussed:

  • Up to $200,000 in funding for the Preliminary Design Phase of downtown Sanford reconstruction, as outlined in the Planning Partnership Initiative study, was approved. The money will cover 50% of the design cost, with the other 50% to be paid by Maine DOT. Sanford’s share will come from engineering costs budgeted for other future road construction projects, which may result in some of them being delayed. Public Works Director Matt Hill shared the Draft PPI report with the Council, and said the partnership with MEDOT on the design is the next step to moving the process forward. The construction is planned for 2024, and involves major work to the downtown to make it safer, more pedestrian-friendly and more attractive. (The photo above shows one of the options for the part of Main St. in front of Sunset Towers.) It is expected to be a $10 million project with the bulk of the funding coming from the state.
  • The purchase of protective net fencing for the baseball field at Benton Park was approved. Forenet, Inc. of Rhode Island was the low bidder at $19,526. The fencing will protect the planned “Tot Lot” playground from any stray balls.
  • The Council voted unanimously to appoint Erin McMann as the next City Treasurer and Tax Collector, effective December 21. Paula Simpson, the current Treasurer/Tax Collector, is retiring after 28 years in the position. Ms. McMann has most recently been employed as the Assistant Treasurer of the City of Portland.
  • Councilor Bob Stackpole gave a report on the Zoning Subcommittee meeting held the week prior. A proposal to hire outside contractors for mineral extraction inspections was discussed, but not approved. There was discussion of a proposal by Gold Rush Pawn to sell used cars. It was determined that the property owner had not followed through with the Planning Department and he will be encouraged to do so. Development review fees were looked at, and determined to be revenue neutral, no change required.
  • Mayor Tom Cote gave a report on the Property Subcommittee meeting. There was discussion of city-sponsored Christmas celebrations and it was determined that a parade and public tree lighting would not be held this year due to the pandemic. Councilor Ayn Hanselmann is working with others to develop alternative festivities.
  • Councilor John Tuttle gave a report on the Public Safety Subcommittee meeting. Officer Eric Small gave an update on his work with Sanford’s homeless community.
  • City Manager Steven Buck gave an update on the Covid-19 situation in York County vs. the state as a whole. He told the Council that an outbreak of ten cases at the Newton Center had just been announced. He spoke about the vaccines, which are expected to be available beginning in December. Health care workers and first responders will receive the first round of the vaccine, so they will then be able to safely give vaccinations to others. The vaccine is expected to be in wide distribution by April. “Hope is on the horizon,” he said.
  • A public hearing was held on a medical marijuana grower/cultivator license for HighMark Farms, 72 Emery St., Unit 203. There was no comment from the public or the Council. The license was approved.
  • There was a second reading on amendments to the Industrial Reuse section of the Zoning Ordinance, and the Land Use Tables. Mr. Buck noted that the changes had been reviewed by various bodies on multiple occasions. The amendments were unanimously approved.