City approves ordinance limiting fireworks

Alexander Sinn • Feb 20, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Michiganders who love any excuse to shoot off fireworks will now have less opportunities to do so.

Michigan lawmakers late last year approved three acts regarding the sale, possession and use of fireworks in the state. On Monday, the Grand Haven City Council voted 5-0 to adopt a new city ordinance to adhere to these changes, which include a municipal civil infraction that has increased from $50 to $1,000.

The number of total days that municipalities could previously allow fireworks amounted to 30, including the day before and after national holidays. The new total number of days allowing fireworks is 11 or 12, depending on if July 5 falls on a Friday or Saturday, as it does in 2019.

Fireworks celebrating the new year can fly until 1 a.m. New Year’s Day, while fireworks are prohibited after 11:45 p.m. on and around Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

Fireworks are also permitted June 29 through July 5.

Councilman Bob Monetza said the reduced number of fireworks days is better than the previous allowance, but said enforcement will remain an issue.

Under the new city ordinance, half of each civil fine issued will be remitted to the local law enforcement agency. 

Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said the fine is in place as a deterrent, but it would likely be a last resort.

“We generally would take it on a case-by-case basis,” he said. “We always try to educate and warn. When people ignore warnings, we would take enforcement actions.”

Mayor Geri McCaleb said the fine should be applied only in cases of “egregious” violation.

A 2012 Michigan law allowed the ignition of commercial grade fireworks in neighborhoods. In 2013, the state Legislature pared back the days fireworks could be fired to 30.

Advocates for banning fireworks say that they can cause stress for dogs and other pets. 

The Grand Haven Township Board will hear the first reading of a fireworks ordinance at its Feb. 25 meeting.

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