Grosse Pointe City further restricts fireworks use

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 6, 2019

GROSSE POINTE CITY — If you were hoping to celebrate Presidents Day Feb. 18 in Grosse Pointe City with fireworks, you’re going to have to change those plans.

The City is one of a number of communities throughout Michigan that has amended its fireworks ordinance to limit the days people can set off firecrackers and the like. City Attorney Charles “Chuck” Kennedy said that in December, the Michigan Legislature passed a revised law permitting municipalities to restrict fireworks usage to only a handful of federal holidays — a change from the Legislature’s decision circa 2012 to allow fireworks to be set off during more federal holidays.

At a meeting Jan. 14, the Grosse Pointe City Council unanimously approved a new fireworks ordinance that only allows the use of fireworks from 11 a.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan 1; from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day; between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. June 29 to July 4, and also between those hours July 5 if July 5 is a Friday or Saturday; and from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day.

As was the case under the previous law, fireworks cannot be used on public or school property, or on private property without the permission of the property’s owner.

The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act that went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, legalized the sale of consumer fireworks in Michigan and gave communities control over the use and discharge of fireworks, though the state law protected the use of fireworks on the three days that include and surround national holidays. The 10 recognized holidays under the 2012 statute included New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

The new state statute has “allowed local communities to be somewhat more restrictive with regard to fireworks,” Kennedy said.

The change might be seen as good news for pet owners, many of whom have reported that the loud blasts from fireworks have ranged from irritating to traumatic for their animals.

It’s been an issue for public safety as well.

“Every holiday, when they’re using fireworks, we get several calls,” Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni said.

It’s not just a noisy nuisance — it’s also a safety concern.

“If we could, we’d probably ban fireworks for all holidays,” said City Manager Pete Dame, pointing out that the City’s older housing stock stands a greater risk of catching fire from these devices.

Dame said the updated ordinance is as restrictive as state law allows the City to be.

“I’m pleased with it,” City Councilman John Stempfle said of the revised ordinance. “It’s a big improvement.”