by MICHAEL YOUNG
I am pleased to report that we have had very few complaints/problems with the recently approved, new, state of Michigan fireworks law. With that said, there is still quite a bit of confusion regarding the implications of the new law and whether or not local ordinances still apply. The purpose of this article is to clarify some of the ambiguity in the law to and to address the City of Rockford’s ordinance.
The first thing to know is that local ordinances still do apply as to the sale and use of consumer fireworks. Consumer fireworks, as defined, were previously prohibited and they include fireworks that explode or leave the ground. The State has gone on to further clarify that local ordinances also apply with respect to noise, litter and safety. Under the state law, there are 30 days within the calendar where a municipality cannot prohibit the use of consumer fireworks.
The City has had a long-standing nuisance ordinance, which regulates noise complaints. We are applying this nuisance ordinance to the use of all fireworks and prohibit their use between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. So while the State does allow the use of consumer fireworks the day before, the day of and the day after all national holidays, we are still restricting their use between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m.
The City of Rockford has recently amended its own fireworks ordinance to restrict the use of consumer fireworks between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. on any day during the year. With the many festivals and special events we have in the City, it is not unusual to hear fireworks throughout the City and we felt it important to regulate the hours in which they can be used.
For those who choose to ignite fireworks, it is important to remember that all other City ordinances apply. The most important thing is to use common sense.
During these times of extreme heat, we are advising people it is simply not worth the risk and to stop the use of any and all fireworks until we return to a more normal weather pattern. We are also asking people to be respectful of other property owners and to talk to your neighbors before using any fireworks. Knowing whether your neighbors have small children or animals who might be frightened by fireworks is only common courtesy. Also, any debris generated from using fireworks must be cleaned up immediately.
It is illegal for anyone to ignite, discharge or use fireworks on public property including the street right-of-way or within 15 feet of another person’s property without such property owner’s permission. Also, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to use or ignite fireworks under any circumstance.
Interestingly enough, the majority of the new State fireworks law deals with the permitting and sale of consumer fireworks and not so much the actual use. As mentioned above, we have had very few complaints or problems with the new fireworks law, but the City will continue to monitor their use and make adjustments accordingly.
Should anyone have questions regarding this new state law or the City of Rockford’s ordinance, please feel free to contact me at City Hall at (616) 866-1537 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.