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City council refers sales ordinance to further study, approves Main Street money

The Concord City Council voted Tuesday to study the city’s door-to-door sales ordinance before making changes, which might include banning door-to-door sales after sunset instead of after 7 p.m.

The city’s Public Safety Advisory Committee will now study the idea, according to City Manager Tom Aspell. City councilors also asked the committee to consider requiring salesmen to wear badges and to register with the city once every two weeks.

The city’s legal department had recommended changing the weekly registration requirement for salesmen to a monthly requirement. The change was proposed in response to a letter from Utah-based Pinnacle Security, threatening legal action against the city for its time restrictions and registration requirements.

The Public Safety Advisory Committee will report back to the city council after further study.

Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, it took the council two votes to appropriate $295,000 for the Main Street redesign project. The city received a $4.71 million federal grant in June to redesign 12 blocks of Main Street. The council needed a two-thirds majority – or 10 votes – to appropriate $177,000 of federal grant money and up to $118,000 in bonds toward the city’s match portion of the $7.85 million project.

The Downtown Complete Streets Improvement Project Advisory Committee – which includes three city councilors – will deliver its report to the city council tomorrow, followed by a Nov. 26 public hearing.

Ten councilors were present for the first vote of 9-1, with Ward 1 Councilor Liz Blanchard voting no.

“I have felt that we’re sort of getting our cart before our horse and voting on this money before our final report is in from our committee,” Blanchard said. “So my intent was that I was hoping that we could wait until after the 26th to vote on this.”

After the first vote failed to reach a two-thirds majority, At-Large Councilor Dan St. Hilaire and Ward 6 Councilor Allen Bennett left the Main Street advisory committee meeting to join the city council.

“I think you’ll be pleased, even if we vote in favor of this tonight, that the product that you’re going to get on the 26th is going to be superb,” St. Hilaire told Blanchard.

The council then voted to reconsider the measure and unanimously appropriated the money. The funds approved Tuesday night will pay for designing the Main Street plan.

In other action Tuesday, the council appropriated $131,071 for system improvements at the Hall Street wastewater treatment plant. Councilors also unanimously accepted a new plan for snowplowing the city’s sidewalks, based on new plowing equipment and the Concord School District’s elementary school consolidation.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

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