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City Council April 2 Meeting Summary

Mary Hastings updates the City Council

Mary Hastings updates the City Council on the renovations made to businesses in the city using the funds from the Façade Grant.

Credit: City of Sanford

By Renée Morin

Mayor’s report 

Mayor Becky Brink reported on the many positive developments in housing and new businesses over the past year.  

Homelessness update 

The Homelessness Task force last met on April 1. City Manager Steve Buck has identified “capacity issues” as an area of focus for the task force. The Lafayette Warming Center, which currently has about 40 clients, will close for the season on May 1. The current clients will have continued access to multiple services, though they must choose to opt in for them. Residents of the Heritage Crossing encampment have been “the most resistant” to accepting these services, according to Buck. 

There are also efforts in the works to reconvene representatives of the 14 communities that participated in the legislative summit on homelessness this past December to continue their work into the next legislative session. 

Communications/Presentations 

Public Works Director Matt Hill gave a presentation on the Safety Action Plan developed by the Sanford Planning and Development Department. The goal put forward by the plan aims to reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths resulting from traffic accidents in Sanford, and more broadly, to reduce accidents altogether.  

The presentation discussed which sections of road in Sanford were the most accident prone to get the best use out of grant money allocated to Sanford by the federal government, and to reduce injuries and fatalities as much as possible. Additionally, it also touched on issues such as equity, speeding, public education initiatives and sobriety checks. 

Public Participation 

Lee Burnett of Springvale advocated for the City Council to apply for an available one-time grant of $200,000 to put toward tree planting in the city, as well as the removal of dead ash trees. According to Burnett, the City of Sanford falls into “a double sweet spot” in regard to applying for the grant: its demographics negate the need for a local match of funds and its location is in an area with an Emerald Ash Borer infestation. This incentivizes the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to put money toward the removal of affected trees. 

Buck said the city was prepared to go ahead with an application, but the Council has to decide if they want the money and what it would be allocated for. Mayor Brink suggested that the Council should forward the issue to the Property Subcommittee. 

Public Hearings 

Mary Hastings provided an update on the renovations funded with the façade grant, including improvements to the old 7-Eleven store, CarQuest Auto Parts and the building at 41 Washington St. Hastings wanted public input before applying for a second grant and got 6 people expressing their favorability to the renewal, including residents Todd Rothstein and Lee Burnett, as well as four emails espousing support that were read into the record. Under New Business, the Council gave the go-ahead for the second grant application. Herlihy asked if there are any plans for these funds. Hastings said she has several candidates for the funding that will be included in the application. Councilor Hanselmann complimented Hastings and the rest of the Growth Council for their work on the project. 

Public hearings were held to allow feedback on marijuana applications submitted for an Adult Use Grower/Cultivator license by Blackbeard Farms LLC and a Marijuana Manufacturing Tier II license by Kind Farms Confections LLC. Councilor Pete Tranchemontagne questioned why both businesses had the same address of 81 Industrial Ave., Unit C.  Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy responded to Tranchemontagne suggesting that since the LLCs had different licenses they were probably just sharing the space. There were no other comments. The license applications were approved, as was an application by Waypoint Maine (formerly Waban) for a fundraising event on June 1 from 2 to 6 pm at 5 Dunaway Dr.

Old Business 

The City Council unanimously confirmed the orders adjudging 41 Emerson St., 51 Pleasant St. and 62 Twombley Rd. to be dangerous and nuisance buildings. For more information see our previous story from March 27 on Dangerous Buildings. 

Other New Business 

The Council reviewed the Maine Municipal Association’s nomination process. 

A proclamation was made by the City Council honoring the 75th anniversary of the Sanford VFW Post 9935. 

A Municipal Warrant was signed by the Council calling for a referendum election on the school budget validation. The election will take place from 7 am to 8 pm on June 11, 2024 and will have three designated polling places. 

The meeting ended with discussion and vote on the 2024/25 municipal and school budgets. For more information see that story: https://sanfordspringvalenews.com/council-approves-budgets-for-2024-25-tax-rate-up-1-03/. 

Council Member Comments 

Tranchemontagne promoted the online auction fundraiser which will be held by the Springvale Library from April 22-28. 

Councilor Jonathan Martell requested that if a Sanford City employee is invited to Augusta for a photo-op, the councilors, senators, and state representatives of Sanford be informed about the date of the event. 

Councilor Hanselmann expressed her pride in the City Council’s budget work, and her appreciation that they had disagreement and avoided “groupthink.” Mayor Brink commented that all the members of the council came from different parts of town and had different backgrounds, which has led to a very diverse group on the Council. 

Future Agenda Items 

Councilor Stackpole requested an update on a proposed canoe launch on Number One Pond. Councilor Martell proposed some temporary canoe launch locations in the meantime. 

Councilor Hanselmann proposed reducing the number of subcommittee meetings held over the summer. 

Councilor Herlihy wants to have a discussion to clarify the expectations around public usage of Goodall Park. 

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