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June 26, 2013

Troy council lowers the boom on fireworks

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

TROY — In response to numerous complaints from Troy residents last year over relaxed state laws regarding consumer fireworks, the Troy City Council enacted local ordinances that go a couple steps further than amended state legislation signed into law last week.

The Troy City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the city code June 17 in anticipation of state approval expected later that week of an amended state law. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed the new state law, Public Act 65 of 2013, June 19.

“This is a common-sense bill that respects the preferences of communities by letting local authorities decide when fireworks can and cannot be used,” Calley said in a prepared statement.

PA 65 allows local units of government with populations of more than 50,000 the discretion to prohibit the use of consumer fireworks between midnight and 8 a.m. on the day before, the day of and the day after national holidays, and 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. The Troy City Council adopted the guidelines, plus some of its own, June 17.

Under the new Troy ordinance, fireworks may be ignited only from 8 a.m. to midnight the day of, before and after 10 national holidays, and until 1 a.m. on New Years Day. They are banned in Troy on all other days.

“We took it a couple steps further to ban on all days except the holidays and to restrict the time for discharge on the holidays,” Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm explained.

The new state law also prohibits use of consumer fireworks on public property and while under the influence of alcohol and/or a controlled substance.

Troy Police Chief Gary Mayer said the city and state laws provided “relief to residents for neighbors who don’t have the common courtesy not to light them (fireworks) off all night long.”

“The police are back in the business of keeping the public peace, with regard to fireworks,” Mayer added.

On July 1 of last year, the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act went into effect, which allowed consumers to ignite fireworks that explode on the ground or in the air, previously banned in the state.

That 2012 law said that municipalities could not impose any restriction to regulate consumer fireworks any time of day on the day of, before or after 10 designated national holidays.

Mayer said that July 2-5 of last year, the number of calls into the dispatch center spiked by 300 calls — most callers asking for clarification of the new law.

The amendments to the city ordinance will take effect June 27, 10 days following the council’s action. Violation of the Troy fireworks ordinance is a municipal infraction punishable up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.