Closure ends party at Belfast Common parking lot

Council raises ambulance fees, extends pot moratorium, appoints committee members
By Ethan Andrews | Jul 10, 2017
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Neighbors say the parking lot at the top of Belfast Common no longer attracts a late night crowd since the City Council voted last month to close it at 9 p.m.

Belfast — Several laminated signs and a little police authority was all it took to end the late-night gatherings at a parking lot by Belfast Common, according to one neighbor.

Andy Stevenson, who lives on Union Street across from the parking lot, was among three residents who appealed to the council last month to do something about groups of young people hanging out across the street, skateboarding and socializing into the wee hours of the morning.

The council responded by closing the lot at 9 p.m. — indicated by signs posted at the entrances — and ordering police to enforce the new rule. Stevenson said the gatherings stopped almost immediately.

"Which has been noticed and appreciated by all of the residents there," he said.

Awaiting state's marijuana rules

The council approved a first reading to extend a city-wide marijuana moratorium for another 180 days. The moratorium was first enacted in January to prevent applications for new retail marijuana stores or "social clubs" while the state is establishing rules for these businesses, which were legalized in Maine by the 2016 referendum.

The moratorium extends to Dec. 31. The state has until February 2018 to enact regulations to implement the 2016 Marijuana Legalization Act.

City Planner Wayne Marshall said the city's moratorium doesn't affect personal use of marijuana as governed by state law. Nor does it stake a position on the drug, he said.

"This is not saying people are in favor or opposed," he said. "This is just taking a break."

In other business, the council:

Raised ambulance fees in an attempt to be consistent with other communities. Belfast last raised its rates in 2013. The amounts recommended by the city's collection agency and supported by Belfast Rescue were based on a survey of those in Augusta, Falmouth, Gardiner, Boothbay, Auburn and York.

Appointed John Downs to the Airport Advisory Committee; promoted Harbor Committee alternate Joanne Moesswilde to full member and appointed Gerald Grant alternate; appointed Jessica Falconer to the Pedestrian Hiking and Biking Committee but left one vacancy after councilors Neal Harkness and Mary Mortier voiced disapproval for a second applicant, David August, based on answers he gave in his interview.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Patricia Keyes | Jul 11, 2017 10:02

I'd like to get people talking about this now, before we have things sprung on us. I think a large majority of Belfastians are against Big Pharma and their attempts to make money of the misery of human disease by making marijuana illegal. Marijuana CURES at least 8 kinds of common cancer, and is a much kinder pain killer for those suffering from chronic illness, chemo poisons, and brain diseases that cause tremors. It is a right of all humanity to use the plants that God has given us as they are given us to be used, to correct the effects of bad nutrition and disease.  But TCP is not for children.

Brain Development:  Children do not gain the final step in brain development/maturity until they are about 25-26 yrs old, when they FINALLY gain the mental ability to comprehend and anticipate CONSEQUENCES for their actions.  Good judgment in our citizens is certainly vital to a healthy society and a safe nation. There should be an age limit on recreational use beginning at age 26, and perhaps much older, maybe age 50, so as to protect this final crucial part of an healthy functioning adult’s brain development.
Children of all younger ages are PERMANENTLY AND NEGATIVELY AFFECTED in their brain development by marijuana.  Mj should NOT BE LEGAL in homes or spaces in which a child/underage young adult is present.  If carding for age limits has to happen for everyone, regardless of obvious age for liquor, then this shouldn’t be a burden for sales of mj.
I am AGAINST MEDICAL RESTRICTIONS for those who are sick, including children, because one has to weigh the benefits over the costs. Involvement of a doctor, or perhaps a team of at least 2 doctors, in prescribing mj as a pain or nausea remedy for patients of all disease would be a reasonable check on this problem for children.

Adults with medical needs who have children in the home, well, I don’t know how to solve that legally. Perhaps demanding that patients have a locking petty cash box, or some other form of accountability to keep meds from children, whether by dispensing daily through a health care worker who kept the meds off site, or some written contract with any responsible adult who is on record with the doctor as the dispenser holding the meds off site, that police can access should any criminal distribution arise.  There would need to be a sort of court judge (?) ($!) to have a hearing process for weeding out honest mistakes when a kid accidentally gets some pot/mj vehicle vs. adults providing drugs to minors deliberately, which should be legally criminal.
I’d also like a program where anyone caught causing traffic accidents of any sort related to use of Marijuana will have to place hot orange bumper stickers/truck magnets on any vehicle they drive to warn other drivers of their problem.  I think this is only fair, and they can afford to pay $10 for a set of (4) stickers or $50 for (4) portable magnets if they drive several cars.
We don’t have to be Colorado.

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