The Rockland City Council was split on whether to set higher standards for any new sidewalks built downtown.

The council voted 3-2 at its May 9 meeting to give final approval to new downtown zone regulations. Mayor Brian Harden and Councilor Eric Hebert voted against amendments to the zoning regulations that added the sidewalk requirements.

Under the new requirements — that take effect June 9 — asphalt paving or concrete slabs could not be used for sidewalks. Instead, the sidewalks would have to be constructed of stone, brick, or concrete unit pavers.

On a 4-1 vote (Harden opposed) the council also amended the ordinance to require granite curbing for new sidewalks.

Councilor Larry Pritchett said while the unit pavers might be more costly initially, they would stand up to use longer and likely save money in the long run. He said that if repairs have to be done to sewer, water or electrical lines, a paver can simply be pulled up and replaced.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson also said asphalt sidewalks do not last long and can get chewed up during winter plowing. She also cited the ease in making repairs under sidewalks with the pavers. Asphalt also increases runoff, which adds to the cost of operating the wastewater treatment plant, she noted.

Both Pritchett and Dickerson also said that the pavers look better than asphalt.

Mayor Brian Harden said he voted against the amendments because of what he said would be the higher costs. Harden noted that the downtown zone is not just the downtown part of Main Street but the side streets and part of Union Street.

In other action at the May 9 meeting, the city council voted 4-1 to amend the permit and license fee schedule so that the license cost of holding a circus in the city would increase from $100 to $500. Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson voted against the increase.

The council also gave unanimous final approval to naming a downtown alley as Glover’s Passage.

The alley is located just south of the former W. H. Glover Company building between 449 and 453 Main St. The alley is a one-way street that runs from Main Street to the parking lot that is behind the business block.

The Glover Company built the original Knox County Courthouse, the Second Baptist Church on Brewster Street, the McLain School, and the original Samoset Resort.

Ordinance changes take effect 30 days after final passage.