By Zendelle Bouchard
Three of the City Council’s Subcommittees met July 11, 2023.
Municipal Operations and Property
The members of the Subcommittee are Mayor Becky Brink, Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy and Councilor Ayn Hanselmann.
Memorial Gym Fees: There was discussion of updating the Parks & Recreation Department’s rental fee structure. Parks and Rec Director Brady Lloyd reminded the Subcommittee members that a fee is charged to out-of-town organizations to rent fields and other facilities, while Sanford/Springvale organizations with resident participants, such as Babe Ruth and Sanford Soccer, may use the City’s facilities for free. Mr. Lloyd said his concern is that local sports organizations might reserve Memorial Gym as a backup practice location to be used in case of bad weather, making it unavailable to rent to paying customers. City Manager Steve Buck said booking the Gym for rain dates is an unreasonable encumbrance on the facility. The Subcommittee members all agreed the City should not allow groups to book the Gym for that purpose so it was not an issue. Councilor Hanselmann and Deputy Mayor Herlihy both stressed that, while bringing more revenue in to the City by renting out the Gym is important, the Council viewed the Gym as a community asset and did not expect it to break even. Mr. Lloyd said he hopes to have a custodian hired for the building very soon, which will allow him to pursue holding more revenue-producing events there. For next month’s meeting, he will make up a list of organizations that are approved to use the Gym for free.
Central Park Benches: The Subcommittee discussed installing center arms on the benches in Central Park, which would prevent people from lying down on them. (There was a proposal in November 2022 to have students at Sanford Regional Technical Center make new benches for the park, but that project never went forward.) Mr. Buck said since the closure of the nearby Peer Center, there has been an increase in the number of people sleeping all day on the benches. He pointed out that this makes the benches unavailable as rest spots for people with mobility issues who may need them. Councilor Hanselmann said she is not in favor of center arms for the benches as it also makes them uncomfortable for families and is not an effective way to address the root problem of homelessness. All agreed it should be discussed with the full City Council before any decision is made.
Overnight Parking: There was some discussion on a possible amendment to the ordinance that prohibits RVs and commercial vehicles from parking all night on a public way. The City Manager’s office has received a complaint that one trailer is habitually parked on the street near a school bus stop, but moved for a short time each day to avoid a violation. Major Mark Dyer of the Sanford Police Department said he was unaware of the problem and will look into it. Deputy Public Works Director Pete Smith said he doesn’t think the existing parking ordinances are being enforced enough, as he often encounters illegally parked vehicles where the Highway Department is trying to work. “I don’t want to be the nagging nanny calling these in all the time,” he added. Mayor Brink replied that reporting problems is not nagging, it is helping the community. Mr. Buck said the Police Department is understaffed at the moment due to retirements and officers being away at the Police Academy, making parking enforcement a challenge. Deputy Mayor Herlihy suggested the SPD and Public Works collaborate to create a simple process for Public Works employees to leave warning notices on illegally parked cars, which officers could then follow up on. All agreed this was a good next step.
Goodall Park Concession Stand: Deputy Mayor Herlihy, who managed the concession stand at Sanford Mainers’ games for the past few years, said that the concession stand needs to be replaced as it gets dangerously hot on sunny days and has insufficient utilities. Concessions are a big source of revenue, but the stand needs to be torn down, rebuilt in a better location and better equipped. Kyle Landry of the Kiwanis Club said his organization would like to donate a significant sum to the project, and funds from grants and other donations could also be pursued. Mayor Brink agreed that a well-functioning concession stand would draw more people to events at the park. Goodall Park is owned by the City, so Council approval is needed to go forward. The Subcommittee members, plus Councilor Nate Hitchcock who was there speaking on behalf of the Mainers, were all in favor. Mr. Landry will come back with an update on the project when there is something to report.
There were several other items discussed which were forwarded to the full City Council. See that report for details.
Public Safety Subcommittee
See separate story.
The Subcommittee members are Councilors Bob Stackpole and Jonathan Martell, and Deputy Mayor Herlihy.
Recreational Vehicles: The Subcommittee reviewed the first draft of a proposed ordinance to regulate the use of recreational vehicles as temporary living quarters on private property other than a campground. The City has received complaints of seven instances of this occurring over the past winter, but without a specific ordinance, these are difficult for Code Enforcement to address. Ian Houseal, Director of Community Development, said in putting the draft together he researched similar ordinances nationwide. He came up with a list of five requirements that an RV used as living quarters would have to meet. Subcommittee members discussed each one and made suggestions for clarification. One of the requirements that was viewed as redundant was eliminated. The proposed ordinance will come back to the Zoning Subcommittee for another review before being forwarded to the full Council for a public hearing. At this time, the proposed regulations include the following:
- RV may be on a site for fewer than 120 days, and only between April 1 and October 31.
- RV must be fully licensed and registered and ready for highway use, with no permanent attached additions.
- RV must have a written sewage disposal plan approved by the local Plumbing Inspector within 48 hours.
- RV may not be placed in a setback, which varies by zone. Code Enforcement Officer Jamie Cole noted that the Urban Zone has no side or rear setback, but he thought there should be some minimum distance for fire safety.
Zoning Change: Subcommittee members were in favor of a proposal to change the zoning for the home at 1 Park St. from Single Family Residential to Urban, which will allow it to be a two-family. The change was recommended by the Planning Board. The property was a two-family in the past, but has been vacant for so long that it lost that approval. The proposed zone change will go forward to the full Council for a public hearing.