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A section of the Rail Trail off Railroad Ave.

The Sanford City Council met April 19, 2022 via Zoom. All members were present.

Trust Funds: In her report, Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio spoke about the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society’s request for money from the William O. Emery Trust. The Society is asking for $28,332 in support of restoration of a circa 1910 garage, as well as landscaping, floodlights, and the creation of additional parking spaces on the south side of the Historical Museum. The Trust was created in 1940 with funds left by Mr. Emery in his will to be used for the beautification of Sanford. This fiscal year the Trust has $55,883.14 available, of which $6,500 has already been distributed, leaving a balance of $49,383.14. If the Historical Society’s request is granted, that will leave a balance of $21,051.14 to be spent by the end of August. A grant of funds from the Trust requires the approval of the Mayor, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce, and a representative of the trust company, but Mayor Mastraccio said she would like to have more input from the City Council about how funds should be spent before giving her approval. Councilor Becky Brink asked for more information and questioned whether there is a three-year or five-year plan for how money should be allocated.

Online Reporting: In his report, City Manager Steve Buck announced that the Police Department’s online reporting tool will go live May 1. This new tool will enable citizens to report low-level crimes using their phones or computers.

Leon Tanguay: Mr. Buck said 98-year-old Sanford resident Leon Tanguay has been profiled on Channel 13, and Boston’s Chronicle show is also coming to town to interview him. Mr. Tanguay, a World War II veteran, was honored by the City recently with the renaming of Sherburne St. to Tanguay St. in his honor.

Special Election: The following candidates will be on the ballot in June for the open seat on the City Council: Nathaniel Hitchcock, Michael W. Termath and Dennis R. Woodruff.

Growth Council Quarterly Report: Jim Nimon, Director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, presented his final report to the Council. He will retire this Friday. Mr. Nimon said WinnCompanies continues to work on plans for redevelopment of the long-vacant Stenton Trust building. A timetable for the work will become more public as they go through the planning process. He said a new technology park is in the works. The Industrial Development Corporation is in talks with the landowner, and will have more information available after they meet again in three weeks. The Cyro Rd. properties are just about sold out, so this will create more opportunities for industrial development in Sanford. He praised the Growth Council’s new Board of Directors for striking a good balance between downtown and the industrial parks. He thanked the Council for the opportunity to serve the community. 

Marijuana License: A public hearing was held on a medical marijuana grower/cultivator license renewal for Prime Connection Cultivation LLC, located at 72 Emery St., Unit 307. No one spoke in favor or against. The renewal was granted under the consent agenda.

TIF Districts: A public hearing was held on the creation of a new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for the Central Park Residences apartment development on School St. Tim Reinken of ReinCorp, the developer, gave a brief presentation on the history of the project. For a period of 25 years, the property taxes on the increase in valuation due to the development will be set aside, with a portion to be refunded to the developer to help with excessive cost, and a portion retained by the city, to be devoted to economic development purposes.

Under New Business, the Council approved the creation of the new TIF district, which is .67 acres in size. The property was already part of the Sanford Downtown TIF, and that district has been amended to reduce it by that amount. Creation of the Central Park Residences district will enable the City to continue funding economic development activities, while sheltering the increase in valuation for 25 years.

Dangerous Buildings: The Council voted to confirm the findings and orders on 12 Fieldstone Ln. and 26 Roberts St., which were declared Dangerous Buildings at the previous Council meeting. Community Development Director Ian Houseal said that since the hearing, he has heard from parties in interest for the Fieldstone Ln. property, who didn’t request any changes to the order.

Adult-Use Marijuana: After correcting a few things that were inadvertently omitted from the proposed ordinance amendments, the Council voted 5-1 to approve the retail sale of adult-use (i.e. recreational) marijuana in the City. Up to five licenses may be granted, one at each of the properties that are zoned for marijuana businesses and also for retail sales. Three of those properties – 72 Emery St., 9 Renaissance Way and 27 Hancock Ln. – are zoned for retail sales, while the other two, at 12 and 22 Smada Dr., have retail sales as a conditional use, meaning they must be approved by the Planning Board before a license can be granted.

City Manager Buck clarified that if there are multiple operators interested in a retail license at a single property, the property owner will make the decision as to which one could apply for the license.

The application fee of $22,500 would be used to cover administrative costs, including providing annual training to City staff, and time for initial review and inspection, as well as paying for a drug and alcohol counselor for the school district.

Mayor Mastraccio was the sole vote in opposition.

Pedestrian Safety Grant: The Council voted to accept a $60,000 grant from the Maine Department of Transportation’s Heads Up Pedestrian Safety initiative, to be used for the purchase and installation of safety signs at crosswalks. The grant requires $15,000 in local matching funds, which will come from the money budgeted in the road construction capital improvements program. Assistant City Engineer Matthew Provencher will oversee the project. Mayor Mastraccio asked that priority also be given to striping the crosswalks, as they are getting difficult to see in some areas.

Asbestos: The Council voted to accept a bid of $14,815 to remove asbestos at 19 Mill St. in Springvale, to be paid with money from the Loan Bank Revolving Fund. The job will be done by Atlantic Environmental Contractors of Lewiston, which has done similar work for the City on other projects. The home was declared a dangerous building by the Council last year. It is currently for sale, with the real estate listing noting that a rehab plan would have to be approved by the City.

Trash Bags: The Council approved a request by WasteZero to pay in advance for production of the 8 gallon Pay-As-You-Throw trash bags. This small size has been unavailable for several months, but WasteZero is ready to restart production.

Election Clerks: The Council appointed the list of election clerks as recommended by Sue Cote, City Clerk and Registrar of Voters. These are volunteer positions. It was clarified that no one who is a candidate on the ballot may serve as an election clerk. If you would like to volunteer to help out at a future election, contact Ms. Cote at City Hall. The next election, on June 14, is the school budget validation referendum, as well as the Democratic and Republican primaries for state and county offices, and the special election for City Council. The general election will be November 8.

Demolition: The Council voted to accept a bid of $8,500 from Joe Gammon and Sons of Wales, ME, for demolition and removal of the house at 27 Wilson St., which was declared a dangerous building in April 2021.

Rail Trail Policy: After lengthy discussion by Councilors as well as members of the public, the Council voted unanimously to approve a new policy for the Rail Trail. Under this policy, the Parks and Recreation Department will take responsibility for maintenance of the Trail, and set opening and closing dates for ATV and snowmobile use. The Sanford ATV Club will continue to provide funding and perform maintenance to mitigate damage to the trail caused by ATVs. The Police Department will conduct enforcement for speeding and other infractions. Members of the ATV Club will have at least one seat on the Trails Committee. The speed limit for the Trail has been set at 15 mph, and 5 mph when riding through residential areas, or when passing a pedestrian. There was some discussion whether that was too slow. The City will provide dust suppression to parts of the trail in residential areas. The Rail Trail will be closed to ATVs from 10:00 p.m. through 8:00 a.m. The policy will be posted at trailheads and gathering spots along the trail, and is available online here. The policy will be periodically reviewed for necessary revisions.

Meeting Remotely: The Council did not take any action to change its Rules and Order of Business with regard to meeting remotely during the pandemic. Remote meetings are tied to the transmission level of Covid-19 in York County, which is still in the red/high category according to the Maine CDC. They will keep an eye on the data and revisit the issue again in May.

Budget Workshop: The Council will have a budget workshop on Tuesday, April 26 at 6:00 p.m., via Zoom. No decisions will be made. The public is welcome to listen in.

The meeting video is available on YouTube here and on Town Hall Streams here.

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