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Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy led the Pledge of Allegiance and asked for a moment of silence.

The Mayor and four Councilors were present. Councilors Tuttle and Lanigan were absent with notice.

Mayor Ann Marie Mastraccio read a letter she received from Rhonda Bennett of Springvale. Ms. Bennett wrote to thank her, Fire Chief Steve Benotti, and Police Chief Tom Connolly for all the assistance provided to her and her family by the City when her home on Railroad Ave. burned down last month.

Mayor Mastraccio announced the members of the Mineral Extraction Task Force as follows: Christopher Genest, Dana Petersen, Water District Supervisor Dave Parent, Mark Curtis, Kevin McKeon, Planning Board member Jack McAdam, Paul St. Jean, and City Manager Steven Buck who will chair. Planning and code staff may also be included as determined and needed by the chair. She said the members represented all stakeholders, and were chosen for their expertise and interest. The Task Force is charged with crafting an ordinance regarding mineral extraction, with a deadline of March 2022.

The members of the Rail Trail Task Force were also announced: Lawrence Furbish, Steve Mallon, Don Roux, Kristen Cyr, Jim Roux, Nick Taylor, Jeff Vanjoolin, Parks Director Brian Desrochers, Katie Manende-Hall, and Dave Parent who will chair. There is one seat remaining to be filled. They are charged with discussing issues around the Rail Trail, with a deadline to report back to the Council in 60 days. Mayor Mastraccio asked that everyone give them a chance to solve the problems. “Let’s not lobby them, let’s let them do their work,” she said.

Mayor Mastraccio said the Council’s amended Rules and Order of Business have come back from the attorney, but that she didn’t have time to review them properly before this meeting. They will be ready for the next Council meeting.

In concluding her report, the Mayor addressed the public comment made at the previous Council meeting by Attorney Kristin Collins on behalf of eight businesses and individuals regarding their experiences with the City’s Planning Department: “I have made a decision in consultation with the Council and the City Manager that the nature of the complaints will be best served by an independent review of the comments and allegations. We have engaged Attorney James Katsiaficas, and this independent and confidential review will result in a report back to the Council. This report will be made public at its conclusion.”

Mayor Mastraccio and Councilor Bob Stackpole reported on last week’s Subcommittee meetings. See previous story.

Mr. Buck began his City Manager’s report with an update on Covid statistics and vaccination rates. There have been a total of 1,738 cases of the virus in Sanford and Springvale. The Sanford Vaccine Clinic is scheduled to close on June 29.

Mr. Buck and Finance Director Ronni Champlin will be attending a Seminar sponsored by the Maine Municipal Association on the federal guidance for use of American Rescue Plan funds, and will have information for the Council to review at its next meeting on June 15. They are also awaiting final decisions on the state budget from the Legislature. He shared information on how adjustments to the state budget would affect Sanford’s municipal budget. He said the City’s assessor, George Green, continues to review data and is attempting to hold increases to residential property values to a minimum while still maximizing the benefits of the Homestead Exemption and other tax reduction programs. Mr. Buck expects to schedule a special meeting of the City Council on June 22 to adopt the municipal budget after the Legislature closes its session.

There was no public participation.

A renewal of a license for a medical marijuana establishment was approved for After Glow Edible Co., 9 Renaissance Way.

The Council voted to confirm the findings and orders from the three dangerous building hearings held at the last meeting.

The Council voted to approve awarding the west side plowing bid to C.A. Plante and Sons of Springvale. They have done the east side plowing for several years. Councilor Ayn Hanselmann said a concerned citizen asked her if the company has sufficient staff and equipment to do both jobs. Public Works Director Matt Hill replied that an equipment list is submitted along with the bid to show that they can do the job, and there is a pre-plow meeting before each winter season in which PWD staff goes over expectations for the work and inspects the contractor’s equipment.

The Council voted to approve the purchase of three new plow trucks from Arundel Ford, to replace vehicles in the Public Works Department’s fleet. The trucks being replaced are model years 2004, 2002 and 2009. One of the new trucks will be received in time for the upcoming winter, the other two will not be received until next year. The purchase of three new sidewalk tractors was also approved. Mr. Hill said they will be received before the snow flies. The new trucks and tractors are being funded through the City’s Equipment Capital Improvement Program, which is dependent on the approval of the municipal budget.

The Council approved a three-year lease renewal for the Sanford Mainers on Goodall Park. Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy, a member of the Mainer’s Board of Directors, spoke about plans for the season. Bubba Frye’s will be supplying pizza for the concession stand this year.

Mr. Hill presented the revised figures for the Westside Village reconstruction project. The initial bid came in much higher than anticipated. The PWD and the Sewer District then met with the contractor, Sargent Corporation, and renegotiated the proposed scope and fee for the project. He said that innovations and concessions from all involved resulted in a revised bid that meets the budget but with no room for contingencies. It is expected, however, that some of the federal ARP funds targeted to infrastructure improvement could be used as a contingency. Mr. Hill said negotiations on the time frame of the project are continuing. It was originally planned to be completed this year; however, the construction industry is very busy right now and the final paving may not be able to be completed until next spring.

Councilors discussed concerns raised by constituents about other roads in town that badly need repairs. Mr. Buck said the City’s road construction program was developed based around the Pavement Condition Index study, which keeps politics out of the decision-making process. However, he acknowledged there are a few roads that have deteriorated significantly since the PCI study was done, and said ARP funds could possibly be used to get those taken care of this year as well. He will be able to discuss it further at the next meeting. The Council voted 4-1 to accept the final bid for the Westside Village reconstruction, with Councilor Jonathan Martell voting no.

There was lengthy discussion on a proposed resolution to instruct city staff to continue work on a draft ordinance pertaining to the retail sale of marijuana. Mr. Buck summarized the work the Zoning Subcommittee has done to date. He presented two options. Option 1, recommended by the Zoning Subcommittee, would allow adult-use retail sales on the five properties where marijuana business is currently allowed and that are also zoned to allow for retail sales. There would be only one store licensed per property. Option 2 would allow adult-use marijuana sales anywhere in the city that is currently zoned for retail, as long as applicable state and local setbacks are met.

Some of the discussion centered on whether or not a majority of Councilors would vote to allow adult-use retail sales at all, as the Zoning Ordinance currently prohibits it. Mayor Mastraccio said that creating a zoning ordinance to regulate adult-use sales does not mean the prohibition against such sales would be lifted. She said she would only be in favor of allowing adult-use sales if the City could reap some benefit, such as a local sales tax, which is currently not allowed by state law. Councilor Martell said he was not personally in favor of marijuana use, but “the Libertarian side of me says to let people do what they want.” He pointed out that the city does derive licensing fees from marijuana businesses.

Councilor Stackpole said he supports adult-use retail sales: “If a new ice cream place was going to move into town… we don’t ask ourselves what are we gong to get for that.” Deputy Mayor Herlihy said liquor and tobacco, not ice cream, would be a better comparison. He disagreed, saying that it’s a business like any other: “It’s jobs, it’s income, it’s economic development. We’ve thumbed our noses at that as a Council right from the very beginning.” Ms. Herlihy retorted that he was taking it too far with that comment. Mayor Mastraccio jumped in to say she would not allow back and forth arguing, reminding those present to raise his or her hand to speak.

Councilor Hanselmann said she voted against marijuana when the issue was first raised, but the state has made progress since then. She said she would also like to see a local sales tax to offset what she called the “significant cost” associated with marijuana use among young people. She pointed out how busy the Planning Department is this year working on the update to the Comprehensive Plan, and questioned whether it is realistic that they will have the time to work on a marijuana ordinance.

Two members of the public weighed in with comments. Dianne Connolly asked if other town mayors or managers had been consulted as to how the process worked in their communities. Jason Trowbridge, who owns a licensed marijuana business, asked for clarification about the number of properties where adult-use sales might be allowed. He said if the City wants to reap a financial benefit, the Council could consider adopting impact fees, or increasing the licensing fees.

Mr. Buck summed up the issue to get the Council back on track. He said in his opinion the marijuana industry is no different than the alcohol industry, that any negative impact is not caused by the store itself, but by people who use the product inappropriately. He said the purpose of the proposed ordinance is to control the number and location of stores so that the city is not overrun, adding that it seems reasonable to have five licensed businesses in the community.

The Council unanimously voted in favor of Option 1 of the resolution, to have city staff work on an ordinance to allow adult-use marijuana retail sales on the five properties that are currently zoned for marijuana businesses as well as retail. Those five properties are 9 Renaissance Dr., 27 Hancock Lane, 72 Emery St., 22 Smada Dr. and 12 Smada Dr. On the Smada Dr. properties, which are located in the industrial park, retail is a conditional use which would require specific approval.

Under Councilor comments, Councilor Hanselmann reminded the public to vote on the school budget referendum on or before June 8; and about Sanford High School graduation on June 9. Councilor Stackpole spoke about a new phone app called Foodtrux. Deputy Mayor Herlihy gave another plug for the Mainers.

Under Future Agenda Items, Ms. Hanselmann asked for an update from the Recreation Department Advisory Board. Ms. Herlihy said she would like to hear reports from the Water District and Sewer District Supervisors.

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