City looks to amend fireworks ordinance, making it consistent with state laws
Wed, 07/15/2020 - 12:01pm caleb
Public hearing slated for next city council meeting on Monday, August 10
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The City of Grayling will conduct a public hearing regarding proposed changes to its fireworks ordinance during the city council’s next regular meeting on Monday, August 10. City Manager Doug Baum said adjustments are necessary to the ordinance to ensure that the city’s regulations are consistent with state fireworks laws.
The state changed its fireworks regulations a couple of years ago.
“Michigan’s Fireworks Safety Act of 2011 (Public Act 256) was amended in December 2018, giving local government entities – villages, townships, and cities – the right to restrict the days and times for their residents to use consumer fireworks by enacting a local ordinance,” according to www.michigan.gov.
Currently, the city’s fireworks ordinance, listed in Chapter 24, Article VI of its Municipal Code, says: “No person shall explode any fireworks or firecrackers except by written permission of the city council.”
State law, however, “requires that fireworks must be allowed on the following days, after 11 a.m.: December 31 until 1 a.m. on January 1; the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day, until 11:45 p.m.; June 29 to July 4, until 11:45 p.m.; July 5, if it falls on a Friday or Saturday, until 11:45 p.m.; the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day, until 11:45 p.m.,” according to www.michigan.gov.
According to the draft of the proposed changes that the city council viewed during its regular meeting on Monday, July 13, the ordinance would continue to ban the use of fireworks in the city “except by written permission of the City Council.”
“However, this Ordinance does not regulate the ignition, discharge, or use of consumer fireworks on those days and times identified in (the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act), as amended or as may be amended in the future,” according to the draft.
“Local government officials who assume that their municipality is simply following state law by not passing a fireworks ordinance may be inadvertently putting zero restrictions on fireworks usage in their community. This may not be what they intended, but it is what the state law puts forth,” state officials said. “If no action is taken at the local government level, state law allows for fireworks to be used all year long. Simply put, if there is no local ordinance restricting fireworks, then there are no local fireworks restrictions in your municipality.”
The city’s proposed fireworks ordinance adjustments also add specific penalties for violations of the regulations.
“Pursuant to (the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act), a violation of (the city’s fireworks ordinance) is a municipal civil infraction, punishable by a fine of $1,000 for each violation. $500 of the fine collected under this Ordinance shall be remitted to the City of Grayling Police Department, the local law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing this Ordinance,” according to the draft.
The city council voted 5-0 to conduct a public hearing for the proposed changes during the council’s regular meeting slated for Monday, August 10, at 6:30 p.m.
Though state law allows fireworks to be used on certain days and times regardless of local ordinances, there are rules about who may legally purchase them and where they can be ignited.
“Licensed facilities will only sell fireworks to people 18 years of age or older. State law requires that consumer-grade fireworks only be ignited from personal property. It is illegal to ignite fireworks on public property (including streets and sidewalks), school property, church property, or another person’s property without their express permission. State law makes it illegal to discharge fireworks when intoxicated or under the influence of drugs,” according to www.michigan.gov.