BREWER, Maine — Local residents will decide by referendum Tuesday whether they want to restrict the use of fireworks to outlying areas of Brewer where the discharge of firearms is allowed.
City Councilor Joseph Ferris is behind bringing the vote to referendum, which, if approved, would ban the use of fireworks between Day Road in north Brewer to the junction of Elm and Mill streets in south Brewer, and all areas east of Green Point Road, Interstate 395, and Pierce, Lambert and Day roads. Ferris proposed the referendum after a couple of residents brought the issue to the City Council this past summer.
“To me, this is about citizens telling us what they want,” he said Monday. “If people want to have fireworks — fine, we can have it. If they want it restricted, this is a significant restriction.”
Councilor Larry Doughty is vocal in his opposition to the proposed change.
“This is merely a backdoor attempt to rid our city of fireworks,” Doughty posted Sunday on his blog. “So folks, keep in mind as you vote Tuesday, if you want to continue to enjoy fireworks a few times a year, and do so at your own home, vote NO.”
The question asks residents if they want to amend the land use code by adding the following sentence:
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, the use of consumer fireworks shall be restricted to those area[s] of the City of Brewer that permit the discharge of shotguns, muzzleloaders, black powder guns, revolvers and pistols pursuant to Chapter 35 of the Codes and Ordinances of the City of Brewer.”
“I have no ax in this fight at all,” said Ferris, who lives in an outlying area of the city that will allow fireworks even if the restrictions are passed. “This is about the people making a decision.”
On Jan. 1, the law banning fireworks in the state was lifted. Those at least age 21 are now allowed to use fireworks anywhere within Brewer, as long as they own the property or have permission to use the property. Under state law, fireworks can be set off only between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., except on certain holidays, such as the Fourth of July, which have extended hours.
Lovely’s limited liability corporation, owned by Newport businessman Greg Lovely, gained approval last month to construct a single-story, 1,600-square foot retail fireworks store at 972 Wilson St., which sits within the area where the use of fireworks would be allowed.
Residents on Tuesday also will pick two City Council members and two school board members during the local elections, held in conjunction and statewide votes and the national presidential election.