City approves first reading of stricter fireworks regulation

By: Robert Guttersohn | Royal Oak Review | Published July 23, 2013

ROYAL OAK — The City Commission approved with a 6-0 vote the first reading of an ordinance July 15 that would prohibit the use of fireworks throughout the night and early morning on the days of, the days before and the days after national holidays.

Commissioner Kyle DuBuc was absent from the meeting.

The city is allowed to make the changes to the ordinance because of a state law passed and then signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in June allowing more local control of the times when fireworks can be used during holidays.

“This would allow us to regulate the use of consumer fireworks to the maximum extent as allowed by state law,” City Attorney David Gillam said before the commission voted.

The Michigan Legislature passed in 2011 the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act, which made legal the purchase and use of commercial-grade fireworks. While local governments were allowed to restrict fireworks usage to just national holidays and the days surrounding them, many did not start doing so until after residents complained of frequent fireworks use in the summer of 2012. One by one, communities began establishing ordinances that restricted the days people were allowed to set off fireworks to those protected by the law, but communities were not allowed to create time restrictions.

“Under the prior law, the city had no authority at all to regulate the use of fireworks on those days,” Gillam said.

The state law passed in June authorized local governments to restrict the use of fireworks between the hours of 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. on the day before, the day of and the day following a national holiday. The exception is New Year’s Day, when fireworks can be used between 12 a.m. and 1 a.m. but then are restricted until 8 a.m.

Commissioner Peggy Goodwin called the passage of the ordinance important and the use of fireworks throughout the night a “nuisance.”

She called for the city to publicize the changes.

“The more public awareness we can bring to this ordinance in advance to any holidays — especially July 4 and New Year’s — the better,” Goodwin said.

The second reading will come up for a vote at the Aug. 12 commission meeting.