Sex offender ordinance and marijuana focus points at Madawaska meeting

MADAWASKA, Maine - Sex offenders and marijuana are two of the topics that town officials in Madawaska will be discussing and voting on. The town held a special meeting yesterday.

One item on the agenda is making amendments to the town's sex offender ordinance. That's a hot button issue according to town manager Gary Picard.

We spoke with Picard who says the town's ordinance is stricter than state law, in that it imposes residency setbacks on registered sex offenders from municipal parks, athletic fields, and family child care facilities along with the setbacks already imposed by state law. He says because the town's ordinance is stricter than state law, it is not enforceable.

Picard says the town has asked the Legislature to clear up the ambiguity in the state law, but they're not sure that will happen in this legislative session.

So they're looking to match their ordinance with state law, which would take the setbacks from municipal parks, fields and child care facilities out of the ordinance.

"There's people that are fired up, there are instances where there are registered sex offenders too close to a park and people want to have the town adopt the strictest ordinance possible and we only adopt what the state says we can adopt," said Picard. "If the state wants to make the law more restrictive than what the intent is now then they could do so, and then the town would be able to adopt something stricter than whats currently on the books."

Picard says if the legislature were to change the law, they'd likely go back and amend their ordinance if residents vote to change it. He says it's also possible they'll entertain a motion to table the article until the state fixes the law.

Another item on the agenda is placing a moratorium on on all recreational marijuana activity and also the location, operation, or licensing of any and all retail marijuana social clubs and retail marijuana establishments within the municipality.

Residents will vote on that and also an ordinance that would ban roosters and other male fowls from the town's high density, medium density, commercial, and industrial zones.