Berkley seeking to limit number of days to use fireworks legally

Huntington Woods officially changes ordinance

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published March 12, 2019

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BERKLEY — Berkley is the latest community to consider changes to its local ordinance to further limit the number of days that fireworks can be used. 

After legislation was passed by the state at the end of last year that gives local cities more leeway in controlling the number of days that fireworks can be used, Berkley brought the possible changes to its City Council March 4.

Cities now can reduce the number of days that fireworks can be used from 30 to approximately 12 days.

City Attorney John Staran said the new state law gives cities more authority in whether they want to reduce the number of days. For Berkley, he said the ordinance amendment takes full advantage of the legislation.

“We’re still going to have to deal with fireworks around the Fourth of July and on New Year’s. Those are probably the biggest times, but at other times we’ll be able to prohibit them,” he said. “Through this ordinance, if adopted, it will take the fullest advantage. It will go to the full extent that state law allows us to in order to limit the use of consumer fireworks.”

If the ordinance is passed, fireworks could only be used on Dec. 31 up until 1 a.m. Jan. 1; the Saturday and Sunday preceding Memorial Day, until 11:45 p.m. on each of those days; June 29 to July 4 on each day up until 11:45 p.m.; July 5, if the day is a Friday or Saturday, up until 11:45 p.m.; and the Saturday and Sunday preceding Labor Day, until 11:45 p.m. on each of those days.

Staran said that any violation would be a civil infraction and a fine of $1,000.

“If (police) are able to enforce the ordinance, it’s going to be a pretty heavy penalty to deal with,” he said. “I would think that will be an extremely effective way of getting the word out to people that you can have fun with fireworks, use them safely, but you have to stick to the days they’re permitted.”

Public Safety Director Matt Koehn, when asked by Councilman Dennis Hennen what residents should do if someone is lighting fireworks on the wrong day or after hours, said the resident should call police as soon as possible.

“Quite frequently, we get to a location and it’s over,” he said. “Just like anything, (if you’re) ever in doubt, give us a call, let us go out there. We’d rather go 20 times to something that isn’t important rather than miss one thing, so please call us anytime.”

Mayor Dan Terbrack said it’s important to note that the council and city is not trying to take away anybody’s right to enjoy fireworks.

“But it happens every single year that we are inundated with residents who have interrupted, been interrupted, kids, dogs, because of fireworks going at all hours of the night,” he said. “The biggest thing we are trying to do is not stop anybody’s enjoyment, but being kind and courteous neighbors by prescribing timelines as to when they are and are not permitted.”

As this was the first reading of the ordinance, the City Council will have the ordinance’s second reading at its next meeting, currently scheduled for March 18. The council approved the first reading 7-0.

Next door in Huntington Woods, the City Commission had its second reading related to its fireworks ordinance amendment, which passed 4-0. 

Huntington Woods’ ordinance also brings the number of days fireworks are allowed from 30 to approximately 12, as described above.

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