New ordinance quiets the ‘boom’ on fireworks

Special report by Michael Webber, Vice President, Rochester Hills City Council

Up until last year, fireworks were only discharged legally in Michigan through the use of a permit. That quickly changed when the Michigan Legislature passed legislation in 2012 that permitted the use of fireworks on the day of, the day before and the day after a national holiday. With that legislation came the legal sale of fireworks in the state – with the thought that the sales tax on these fireworks would generate additional revenue.

Michael_Webber_small It all made sense to the legislators in Lansing until last July 4 happened. Like fireworks blasting off in the sky, residents and neighbors blasted off on Lansing and their local elected officials with complaints of sound and the time frame for use. The original legislation allowed local municipalities to create an ordinance to limit the number of days that fireworks could be used, but did not allow local municipalities to put a time frame (a curfew if you will) on how late or early in the day fireworks could be used.

As a member of the Rochester Hills City Council, I fielded my share of comments and complaints after last July 4. As a community, Rochester Hills worked with our fellow communities to encourage legislation be passed giving us the ability to regulate time frame. This past week, Public Act 65 of 2013 was signed into law that would allow Rochester Hills to amend our existing ordinance to include a time frame of midnight to 8:00 a.m. (1:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day) on those days when fireworks cannot be used.

While Lansing passed the legislation in enough time before July 4, it still required the additional step of the Rochester Hills City Council amending our ordinance – which we did on June 24. The point regarding the law and ordinance change is that there is a time and place for fireworks now in our state, but that it shouldn’t keep families up all night like it did last year.

I worked with our city attorney on the ordinance once the state law passed because I felt that it was important to have this change on the books for this year’s July 4. The ordinance does come with a fine for those that violate it. If you feel that a neighbor is violating this ordinance, please contact the Sheriff’s office. For those who are legally using fireworks at gatherings and parties – have fun and be safe. Let’s make the Fourth of July enjoyable for everyone this year.

 

Comments

  1. Paul Wayne Wiliams says

    Celbration is an expression of free speach! And being proud of your participation in limiting this feedom is reprehensible and pompous. You represent us, you do not rule us.

    Respectfully,

    P. Wayne Williams

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