A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Barber School, 102 W. Exchange St., prior to the expected final approval of a new fireworks ordinance.
Village Council approved rough-draft ordinance language on Monday that mimics ordinances currently in place in Spring Lake Township and the City of Grand Haven, with one exception — Coast Guard Festival Saturday is not a permitted blast-off date.
“The fireworks are across the bridge — let them stay across the bridge,” Village Manager Chris Burns said. “Spring Lake Township is larger and along the water. We're a little more removed from Grand Haven. There's really no reason our residents need to be lighting of fireworks on that day. If you want to light them off, go to Grand Haven.”
Spring Lake's own Heritage Festival is also not on the list of allowed dates, because a pyrotechnic show is already part of the celebration, Village Manager Jim MacLachlan noted.
“Having it done professionally we think is the best way to do it,” he said.
While Grand Haven and Spring Lake Township adopted ordinances last year after the state allowed local municipalities some control over sweeping fireworks law changes, then recently amended them, this will be the first such legislation on the books for the village.
Without an ordinance specifying allowable days, state law allowed fireworks to be shot off anytime.
“We have had quite a few complaints about people with fireworks all times of the night,” MacLachlan said. “It's been something we felt we had to deal with. When the state gave us the opportunity to go in and regulate it somewhat, we felt it was a timely thing to do. I think it's a good solution and one that is in keeping with the spirit of the law that was envisioned by state legislators when they decided to change this in response to public outcry.”
Residents may discharge fireworks up to 1 a.m. on the day of, before and after the following holidays, as required by the state: New Year's Day, Presidents Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Burns said she has received many complaints — especially from people with babies, pets or morning work shifts.
“The first part of the summer, it was awful,” she said. “Hopefully, this provides some relief to our residents who were hearing fireworks all night, every night, leading up to the Fourth of July.”
Burns said violating the ordinance would be considered a civil infraction, with fines up to $500.
“Our ordinance should be very similar to our neighbors — so, hopefully, it will be really easy for people to understand and it should be readily enforceable that way,” MacLachlan said.