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By Zendelle Bouchard

Four of the City Council’s subcommittees met via Zoom April 9, 2024. The following is a brief summary of items discussed at three of them. See the separate story on public safety for notes from that subcommittee meeting.

Solid Waste

Disposal of Vape Pens: Public Works Director Matt Hill discussed disposal of vape pens. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has designated vape pens as hazardous waste, which means they cannot be disposed of in regular household trash or recycling, and the city’s transfer station is not licensed to accept, handle or transport them. The devices can be dangerous because they contain lithium batteries, which can catch fire, and nicotine, which is classified as a poison. Hill proposed that the city create a local ordinance holding the vendors of vape pens responsible for their disposal.

Sanford Sewerage District Superintendent André Brousseau reported that his staff has seen an increase in vape pens flushed into the system, which can be problematic when they get stuck in the pumps. He recommended the city set up a hazardous waste collection day once or twice a year to allow residents to safely dispose of hazardous household substances including vape pens, and subcommittee members agreed with this approach. Hill and City Manager Steve Buck will come up with a plan and present it to the subcommittee at the May meeting.

Municipal Operations and Property

Airport Marking: Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport Director Allison Navia presented a proposal to do pavement marking at the Auburn-Lewiston Airport. A new paint machine was purchased for the Sanford Airport a few years ago with the idea that it would pay for itself through contracts like this one. The subcommittee approved the proposal, which will come before the full City Council once all the details are worked out.

Aviation Proclamation: See the City Council meeting report.

Use of Goodall Park: Following comments at the last regular council meeting about Babe Ruth being able to use Goodall Park, Parks and Recreation Director Brady Lloyd said he has talked with the organization’s new President, Kevin Do, regarding scheduling and best practices for use of the field. Lloyd told the subcommittee he misspoke previously and that Babe Ruth tryouts as well as games can take place at Goodall. He said Parks and Rec tries to keep the day before Mainers games open because there is a lot of prep work involved in getting the park and the field ready for them, but otherwise he tries to keep the park in use as much as possible.

Zoning

Campground Moratorium: See separate story.

Floodplain: Planning and Codes Director Jamie Cole told the subcommittee that Sanford’s Floodplain Management Ordinance needs to be updated to correspond with new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps. The maps for Sanford were modernized by state and federal authorities to make them a little more accurate but no substantive changes were made. The city has to update its ordinance within two months “or nobody in Sanford will be able to get flood insurance,” he said. The udpate will come forward to the full council for approval.

Excavation Businesses: The subcommittee heard a proposal to amend the zoning ordinance to allow excavation businesses as a principal use, rather than accessory use, in the Rural Residential and Rural Mixed Use zones. The owners of Levesque Excavation on Route 202 want to build a garage to house their vehicles and equipment but can’t legally do so as a nonconforming use. Subcommittee members indicated they were in favor of the amendment for businesses that are on arterial roads only, to limit the impact on residential areas. Cole will write the amendment for approval by the subcommittee before it goes forward to the full council for adoption.

Mineral Extraction: The Mineral Extraction Ordinance that has been under development for the past few years is still undergoing revision, with input from industry representatives. Cole said progress has been made and he expects to bring it back to the committee soon.

Urban Zone: An amendment is being proposed to the zoning ordinance regarding the Urban Zone. Cole said when the ordinance was amended earlier this year, a few minor details were missed, including the setback for dumpsters, and this update will correct that. The amendment will go forward to the full council for adoption.

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