City Council 6/7 Meeting Summary

The Sanford City Council met via Zoom on June 7, 2022. All members were present.

Councilor Becky Brink led the Pledge of Allegiance, following which Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio made this statement: “A string of shootings left at least fifteen people dead and more than 69 others wounded in eight states this past weekend. 156 days into 2022, our country has now seen at least 246 mass shootings. Since May 14, when a racist attack at a Buffalo, NY supermarket took the lives of ten people, there have been at least four dozen mass shootings. That includes the attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX that left nineteen students and two teachers dead. Tonight, we remember and mourn all of these victims, and pledge as elected officials to do whatever is necessary to keep our children and citizens safe from gun violence. Please join me in a moment of silence.”

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Mastraccio commented on all the events happening around town over the previous week and weekend. She said Governor Janet Mills came to Sanford for Memorial Day events and has promised to return soon to meet with City leaders. Mayor Mastraccio and Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy will be attending a meeting of the Mayor’s Coalition in Westbrook on June 8, to discuss the future direction of the organization. She said the Governor has declared June to be Pride Month in Maine, and she (the Mayor) has received a request that Sanford join in the celebration of Pride Month by flying the rainbow flag at City Hall to “recognize our community as welcoming and safe for all LGBTQ people.” She will add a Council vote on flying the rainbow flag for one week to the June 21 meeting agenda, unless there is a unanimous vote by the Council to add it to the agenda that night.

City Manager’s Report

Mineral Extraction Task Force: City Manager Steve Buck reported that the Task Force expects to present the draft ordinance to the Council at the July 19 meeting. The proposed zoning amendments will go to the Planning Board for a public hearing before coming back to the Council for a vote.

Orthoimagery: Mr. Buck announced that new orthoimagery (a more accurate form of aerial photography) has been purchased for the City’s Geographic Information System which is used for multiple purposes, including assessing and planning. It is expected to be delivered by the end of the year and will be available for public access. About a third of the total cost of $29,500 was paid by the Water and Sewer Districts.

Communications: The development of the City’s new website is on track, with draft pages to be released soon. The Airport, Police and Fire Departments will have their own subsites. Quotes are being obtained for new photography for the website. Press releases by Communications Coordinator Jordan Wilson have garnered a lot of attention for Sanford, even being picked up by Boston TV stations. More stories are in the works including a focus on the Police Department’s Mental Health Unit, the brownfields work on the International Woolen Mill, and the “greening” of Sanford through solar projects, LED streetlights, the upcoming curbside composting program and more.

Growth Council: Keith McBride has been hired as the new Director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, and will start June 13. He will be introduced at the next Council meeting.

In-person Meetings: York County’s community Covid level is back to green, and with the new cooling tower at City Hall expected to be installed and operational by June 15, the Council will meet in person at the next meeting on June 21. Mr. Buck noted that it was 80 degrees in the Council Chambers that evening.

Charter Review: Mr. Buck encouraged people to attend the public hearing on the Charter Review Committee’s proposed amendments to the Sanford City Charter, June 9 at 6:00 p.m. He said the City’s legal counsel has reviewed the proposed changes and finds no legal or other conflicts. After the public hearing, the Committee will complete its work and present its recommendations to the Council on June 21, a full month ahead of schedule.

Mousam Promenade: The public hearing on the Safe Routes to School initiative which will comprise part of the new Mousam Promenade was poorly attended. The public hearing and documents are available on the City’s website here. There was extensive discussion on pedestrian safety at the new intersection that will take the place of the roundabout at Number One Pond. A public hearing and final presentation will be scheduled for later in the year.

Communications / Presentations

City Council Candidates: All three candidates were invited to make presentations at the meeting, but Nathan Hitchcock could not attend (he spoke at the last meeting) and Dennis Woodruff declined to participate. Michael Termath gave a five-minute presentation on his background and qualifications. He is a combat veteran with over 25 years of service in the US Army, and volunteers locally as a soccer coach. Mayor Mastraccio noted that absentee voting is ongoing at City Hall, and Election Day is next Tuesday, June 14.

Public Hearings

Parking Ticket Enforcement: Mr. Buck said the hearing on the Parking Ticket Enforcement ordinance had to be held again due to a mixup with posting the hearing notice in the Sanford Springvale News. Police Chief Craig Andersen gave a brief recap of the proposed ordinance, which will allow a vehicle parked on a public way or on City property to be towed if it has accumulated three unpaid parking tickets. Springvale resident Dianne Connolly asked if past tickets would be counted, or if the Police Department would wipe the slate clean and start over. Chief Andersen replied that he didn’t feel comfortable with retroactive enforcement, so they would start from here. The ordinance will have a second reading and vote at the June 21 meeting.

New Business

Pride Flag: Councilor Ayn Hanselmann motioned, in light of the fact that the next meeting will be nearly at the end of Pride month, to add discussion of raising the flag to the current meeting’s agenda. That would have required a unanimous vote of the Councilors present, but Councilor Jonathan Martell voted against adding it to the agenda, so it will be discussed at the June 21 meeting instead.

Road Paving: The Council voted to allow the Public Works Department to take funds unspent in the current budget due to short staffing (up to $200,000), and add them to the Capital Improvement Program. The funds will be used to do light paving on some of the roads in Sanford that are in the worst condition, including portions of School St., Rushton St., High St., Pioneer Ave., and Hanson Ridge Rd., as well as Beulah St. Public Works Director Matt Hill said this would help hold these roads over until they are scheduled for full reconstruction. Other streets may be added to the list if there are sufficient funds left over. Mr. Buck said the City is finishing the fiscal year in a strong financial position, despite big hikes in the cost of petroleum and road salt.

South Sanford Roundabout: The Council approved a proposal to contract with Aceto Landscape Architects to come up with a plan to improve the aesthetics of the South Sanford roundabout, at a cost of $15,500. The plan will include hardscape as well as some low-maintenance plantings. Mr. Hill said, for safety reasons, Maine DOT has very strict rules about what can be placed in a roundabout. Aceto was the company responsible for the beautiful renderings of the Mousam Promenade. Mayor Mastraccio asked if they might be able to throw in a few suggestions on how to improve the Sullivan Stairway at the Midtown Mall. Mr. Hill replied that he would ask.

Road Closings: The Council approved road closures for July 3 activities at Number One Pond and the July 4 parade. Parks and Rec Director Brady Lloyd went through the schedule, which includes a water ski show, music by the band Fireball, and fireworks. If rain is expected on July 3, those events will be held July 2 instead.

19 Bodwell St.: The Council approved an amendment of the front setback requirement for the vacant property at 19 Bodwell St., and authorized a consent agreement with the developer, Kara Wilbur of Portland. Ms. Wilbur will be pursuing funding from Maine Housing to build affordable single-family homes or condominiums on the lot. The property was once the home of the Methodist Episcopal Church and parsonage, which were demolished in 2011, before the property was acquired by the City in 2013. Sanford’s zoning ordinance requires a uniform setback in the Urban Zone, but on Bodwell St. there is no uniformity. (The Planning Department is working on a proposed amendment to the front setback requirements, to solve issues like these.)

MMA LPC: The Council voted to appoint Mr. Buck as Sanford’s representative to the Legislative Policy Committee to the Maine Municipal Association, and to nominate Development Director Ian Houseal to represent Senate District 33 on the LPC.

Car Show: The Council voted to approve closing Main St. between Kimball St. and Twombley Rd. for the July 29 Cruising with Friends classic car show being sponsored by the Friends of Downtown.

Councilor Comments

Councilor Martell made this statement: “On the recent shootings and some of the previous comments, I had a conversation with Chief Andersen last week, and I believe the Sanford PD is doing a great job of protecting our schools as well as being prepared in the event if something does happen. That being said, Maine is one of the safest states in the country thanks to our current gun laws. Just want people to be aware of how safe the state actually is, and that is primarily due to people being able to protect themselves.”

Councilor Hanselmann commented on the Boys and Girls varsity lacrosse teams making the playoffs, and the upcoming SHS graduation. She also congratulated graduates of Sanford Community Adult Education who didn’t get to have a ceremony this year.

Councilor Stackpole said he was honored to have the privilege of walking with other Councilors in the Memorial Day Parade. “I get a real sense of community here,” he added.

Deputy Mayor Herlihy begged for volunteers to assist with the concession stand at Sanford Mainers’ games, in particular for Saturday night’s upcoming double header. If you can help out, please contact her at mherlihy@sanfordmaine.org.

Future Agenda Items

Councilor Hanselmann asked if the Property Subcommittee could discuss having banners across Main St. by the Goodall Library. She also requested the Solid Waste Subcommittee discuss having some City-owned trash cans at local businesses, that the businesses would empty.

Mayor Mastraccio asked that dog waste bags and disposal locations also be added to that discussion. She would like to hear an update on use of the Rail Trail since the new rules were instituted, and an update on the Westside Village reconstruction. She announced that Councilor John Tuttle’s burial will take place on Wednesday, June 15 at 11:00 a.m. at the Southern Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Springvale.

The full meeting video may be viewed on Town Hall Streams here or on YouTube here.

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