Roseville’s state rep proposes fireworks restrictions

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 24, 2016

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LANSING — State Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville, submitted a bill Feb. 9 to restrict the state’s fireworks law and provide local communities with more control over the times when fireworks are allowed.

Under Chirkun’s bill, fireworks could only be used on three holidays — Memorial Day, Independence Day and New Year’s Eve — as well as the day immediately before and after those occasions.

Some communities would have the right to restrict fireworks usage between 11 p.m. and 10 a.m., or between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day. The bill specifically mentions that counties with  populations above 750,000 people or cities with populations above 75,000 would gain that ability.

Currently, the law allows for fireworks on all federal holidays, plus the days immediately preceding and following them. According to a press release from Chirkun, that adds up to about 30 days; under his bill, that number would be reduced to nine.

“I believe that my bill asks for common-sense changes to our fireworks law that everyone can agree to and live with,” Chirkun said in a statement. “We need a better balance between what fireworks enthusiasts now have and what the general public who would prefer quieter celebrations want. I think my bill strikes that balance, and I hope to win the support of my colleagues on both sides of the issue and aisle.”

Chirkun said his bill is something of a compromise between two other bills that were introduced; one would ban fireworks entirely, while another would restrict them to only specific days.

“I’ve asked Ray Franz, (R-Onekama), the head of the Regulatory Reform Committee, that this would go in front of him (and the committee),” Chirkun said. “I don’t know if he’s doing it, but I suggested they bring all the bills up, pick one and hold a hearing.”

At press time, the bill had not had a hearing.

Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins welcomed the bill and its potential changes. He said fireworks have been an issue in the city ever since the Legislature originally loosened fireworks restrictions in 2011 and allowed bigger explosives throughout the state.

“Certainly, there’s much room for improvement,” Adkins said. “The number of holidays that are allowed does cause us a problem, because when you allow that to be done on every holiday, there are people who will utilize every holiday to do this.”

While fireworks make sense on a day like July 4, Adkins said, he feels they are less acceptable on some of the other currently allowed holidays.

Part of the reasoning for liberalizing fireworks regulation in Michigan was that it would create more revenue for local communities. Adkins said they have seen a small increase in revenues, but not a “huge windfall.” Much of that stems from a permanent fireworks shop that pays property taxes rather than temporary sales locations.

Chirkun said that when he was mayor of Roseville, he did not mind the fireworks stores that came in and set up a permanent shop in the city, but he disliked transient tent stores that did not pay property taxes.

“I don’t think it’s fair to the people who invest in the community year-round,” he said.

Eastpointe Public Safety Director John McNeilance said the major issue in his view is the increased noise problems the fireworks are causing.

“The major issue for most people is the increase over the past four years of noise and explosions,” McNeilance said. “This is a densely populated community, so it’s a quality-of-life issue.”

Anything that could cut down on the noise would make it easier on the Police Department by reducing the number of complaints and calls it gets, McNeilance said, and the number of runs police need to go on to respond.

“On holidays, that would be significant,” McNeilance said.

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