EASTPORT, Maine — A divided City Council voted Wednesday evening to adopt an ordinance effectively banning fireworks displays except for during a couple of holidays and the city’s annual Pirate Festival.
The council voted 3-2 at its regular meeting after holding a workshop on the proposed ordinance and then holding a public hearing on the measure. It will take effect in 60 days.
The City Council has been grappling with the issue since fall after the town received several nuisance complaints about people setting off fireworks. The council then tasked City Manager Larry Post and the city’s police chief and fire chief with drafting an ordinance to regulate fireworks.
The new ordinance bans the use of fireworks except for on July 3, July 4, New Year’s Eve, and the Friday and Saturday of the Pirate Festival, which is held in September.
In addition, it requires any person or business that stages public displays of fireworks to obtain a permit from the city and-or state.
The ordinance also prohibits the sale of fireworks in Eastport.
Violations of the new fireworks ordinance will be punishable by a fine of at least $350 and a maximum of $500 plus costs. Violations for selling fireworks will be punishable by a minimum $500 fine plus costs.
The councilors discussed the proposed ordinance during the workshop, and a few residents addressed the issue during the public hearing, according to Post. There has been “quite a lot” of debate about fireworks in the community in recent months, he noted.
City Council chair Mary Repole was joined Wednesday by Scott Emery and Gilbert Murphy in voting to adopt the ordinance; councilors Roscoe Archer and Collen Dana-Cummings voted against it.
It was not apparent why Archer and Dana-Cummings were opposed to the measure. Archer could not be reached for comment Thursday, and Dana-Cummings did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The City Council first considered several proposed ordinances at a regular meeting in October and held a public hearing on an earlier version of the ordinance at a later meeting in October. It also collected feedback from citizens in a straw poll that was conducted with the November election.