Heights looking to change firework ordinance

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – The city is adjusting the language of its fireworks ordinance to bring it in line with recent changes in state law.

At the July 23 City Council meeting, Corporation Counsel Gary Miotke supplied the council with a proposed ordinance to amend the city charter.

Miotke said that changing the ordinance would ensure that city laws remain in line with changes to state law passed in Public Act 65 of 2013.

P.A. 65, which was enacted on June 19, allows local governments, based on population, to regulate the use of consumer fireworks during certain hours on the day before, day of and day after a national holiday. Use between midnight and 8 a.m. is banned.

“While the act gave municipalities opportunities to regulate the hours during which fireworks could be ignited, discharged, and used, it also has significantly and negatively affected municipalities’ abilities to regulate the ignition, use, and discharge of fireworks in general,” Miotke said.

Miotke also advised the council to adopt a motion of referring the proposed ordinance to a study session so that city “decision-makers can learn the full ramifications of the act and consider various options the city may have to deal with problems arising from the use, ignition, and discharge of fireworks.”

The issue was brought up after several councilors addressed concerns at recent meetings regarding the firing of fireworks within the city.

Councilman Ned Apigian told the council he had seen several fireworks being fired over Ford Road around the holiday, which was illegal not just because of the day and hour but also because of the danger of firing them over a public road.

Police Chief Lee Gavin also discussed the multiple calls the department has received due to fireworks, saying that more than 100 complaints were received in the weeks surrounding July 4.

A date for the study session has not been selected yet.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)