Bloomfield Township places stricter limits on fireworks

Board of Trustees approves amendment to local fireworks ordinance

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 7, 2021

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BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Residents of Bloomfield Township now have fewer days to light off fireworks.

Bloomfield Township has imposed a restriction, via an ordinance amendment unanimously approved Aug. 23, that bans launching consumer fireworks — the kind that go up into the air — during most days of the year.

However, the state currently prevents the township from banning consumer fireworks usage on the following days: 11 a.m. Dec. 31 until 1 a.m. Jan. 1; from 11 a.m. the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Memorial Day until 11:45 p.m.; 11 a.m. June 29 to until 11:45 p.m. July 4; 11 a.m.-11:45 p.m. July 5, if that date is a Friday or a Saturday; and from 11 a.m. the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Labor Day until 11:45 p.m.

Township Clerk Martin Brook said consumer fireworks may only be discharged on private property, adding that it is illegal to ignite fireworks from a friend’s property or public property — including streets and sidewalks, from school or church property — without permission.

The amended ordinance went into effect Aug. 29. Township Attorney Derk Beckerleg said any violation is a civil infraction, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine. He noted that the previous township ordinance did not define a penalty for noncompliance.

Over the past several months, Brook said, he has received many calls from residents complaining about an increase in the use of fireworks in the township.

“This has been a concern for many folks that talk to me — not only for the residents, but for their pets and family members that are veterans, and for their safety concerns as well,” he said.

Trustee Valerie Murray said fireworks have been “incredibly dangerous this year.”

“We had an adjacent lot that had a relatively young person shooting (fireworks) from some kind of launcher, and they were shooting it up right into trees, over the side of the lake. And you think of starting the tree on fire, polluting the lake, the danger of how things go — it gets dropped, your hand turns and it goes the wrong way — it’s truly frightening,” she said.

The real issue, according to Trustee Neal Barnett, is that municipalities have “no local control anymore.”

“The state took control over the fireworks and removed it from municipalities — as far as having the ability to have more restrictions that really would benefit our residents. Unfortunately, it’s just one of the many mistakes they made in Lansing. They like to take local control away, and this is another example,” Barnett added.

Trustee Michael Schostak believes the state statute is a “a very, very liberal policy” and asked township administrators if the township has the ability to be more restrictive.

“The government took away almost all local control,” Brook said. “We don’t have any flexibility to implement any sorts of safety guidelines or significant timing restrictions other than what is stated in the statute.”

Township Supervisor Dani Walsh said some residents have decided to start a letter writing campaign to try to push state leaders to make changes to the statute.

“As many people as you can get to talk to the state reps, that’s the only place where we are going to be able to make some changes,” Walsh said.

Until then, Brook noted that the amended ordinance is more restrictive on fireworks than it was previously.

“It ultimately reduces the number of holidays during which fireworks are allowed … and identifies a penalty for violations,” he said.

For more information, call Bloomfield Township at (248) 594-2800 or visit www.bloomfieldtwp.org.

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