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Outdoor Table Permits Among Issues Discussed at Committee Meetings

BANGOR - With warmer weather on its way, downtown businesses are beginning to open up outdoor seating for guests.

However this has caused some concern for city staff and councilors due to the increase in businesses wanting that amenity, as discussed during the Business and Economic Development Committee.


Currently, restaurants pay nothing to use the outdoor city property.


Committee member area looking at changes to the policy that would require a fee for use of the area, fencing standards, and approval through the city code enforcer.


Much of the concern is with fees, proposed at $1,000 for the season, and $2.00 per square foot if selling alcohol, and $100 per table without selling alcohol.


"I think we should be very reluctant to charge any fee at all," Mayor Ben Sprague says. "In the case that the city is getting a return from the work of these entrepreneurs around town, in terms of increased vibrancy, and increased activity downtown." 


Changes to the proposal will go back before the committee.


Meanwhile, the Finance Committee announced the city has entered a $25,000 contract with Acentech to conduct a sound study on the first three months for the Waterfront Concert venue, monitoring both during concerts hours and non concert hours.


The sound monitors will be located in three locations - one in the venue at the mix location, one in Brewer, and one in Bangor at a "protected location."


The Maine Department of Environmental Protection only requires two locations as part of the study, however the city has requested a third location to get the best results as possible.


Additionally, the Government Operations Committee discussed possible changes coming to the voting location at the Cross Insurance Center.


Maine's Secretary of State has approved the move of the voting booths from the Ballroom of the center to the concourse area.


City Clerk, Lisa Goodwin, says this is only temporary for the June election.


The reason behind the possible move is due to the expanded access for the disabled and the elderly.


Officials will assess how the election runs in June and discuss where the issue of the voting location will go from there.


Also on agenda for the Government Operations Committee, regulations on how to handle recreational fires.


Currently, small, recreational fires are allowed in Bangor, with and without a permit, depending on certain factors, as long as they don't create a nuisance.


Officials, however, say that a fire can be of a permitted nature, but still be a nuisance.


Residents in Bangor discussed possible ways of regulating the control of recreational fires according to proximity as well as, levels of nuisance.


All issues are likely to be readdressed and brought before the committee again.


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