Council requests repeal of 2012 fireworks changes

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published August 26, 2015

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HARPER WOODS — A number of communities in Michigan have complained about fireworks problems since the state loosened commercial fireworks restrictions a few years ago.

The Harper Woods City Council is a part of the chorus across the state that has issues with how the changes have impacted communities.

Now, the City Council has passed a resolution to let the governor and state lawmakers know that it opposes the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act of 2011, which went into effect in 2012.

“We have witnessed an increase in complaints about the use of fireworks in Harper Woods, and it has become a safety concern for all of our residents,” City Manager Randoloph Skotarczyk said. 

The resolution requesting repeal of the law passed 4-1 during the Aug. 10 City Council meeting. Mayor Ken Poynter and Councilman Charles Flanagan were absent from the meeting.

According to the resolution, the city has dealt with increased noise and safety concerns. The change in the law paved the way for residents to use stronger, commercial-grade fireworks.

Councilwoman Valerie Kindle said she was glad to see the resolution on the council agenda.

Mayor Pro Tem Vivian Sawicki agreed.

“We’ve had a number of complaints,” she said of fireworks in the city. “It’s almost out of hand. With any luck, the state will listen to cities as we complain about the issue.”

Councilman Hugh Marshall cast the dissenting vote on the resolution, but the issue he had with the resolution was one of power, as the fireworks issue is state law.

“I don’t think we have the power to usurp that, and I don’t think we have the input of the community,” Marshall said.

The city planned to forward the resolution to state officials who represent the city, including the governor and state legislators.

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