GUILFORD, Maine — While fireworks haven’t been a chronic problem in Guilford, the Planning Board will host a public hearing Wednesday, Nov. 20 to get input on the use of pyrotechnics in the community.
The hearing takes place at 7 p.m. in the municipal building; however, if a large crowd shows up, the meeting will be moved to the firefighters meeting hall, said Town Manager Tom Goulette.
Like most towns, Guilford doesn’t have a municipal regulation on the use of fireworks but relies on state law. Under a statute passed by the 126th Legislature, consumer fireworks may be used between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. on most days. Exceptions are July 4, New Year’s Eve and the weekends before and after the holidays when they can be used from 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. the following day.
Goulette said the planning board is holding the public hearing before they draft a proposed ordinance for next year’s annual town meeting.
“They could offer two choices: restrict them to a certain time of day and location or ban them outright,” Goulette said. “If voters decide not to enact either one, then state law applies.”
The planning board chairman said that he hopes for a decent turnout at the Nov. 20 hearing.
“We can do a better job when we have more input,” Matt Holland said. “There have been a few complaints about fireworks this past summer. But that’s probably not unusual in a small community.”
He also said that there was one casual inquiry about opening a fireworks store in Guilford shortly after the state law was passed, “but nothing ever came of it.”
Consumer fireworks are somewhat limited in scope, according to state law. Certain types such as missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, sky rockets and bottle rockets can’t legally be sold in the state. Also, a person under age 21 “may not purchase, use or possess consumer fireworks within the state of Maine,” according to the statutes.
Only a few towns and cities in Maine have enacted local ordinances, according to the state fire marshal’s office. Bangor is one major exception where a law was passed two years ago banning the use or possession of consumer fireworks within the city limits.
Augusta, Hermon and Brunswick have also passed outright bans on fireworks use.
The Guilford Planning Board normally meets on the third Wednesday of each month in the selectmen’s office at 7 p.m.