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Township Board shortens fireworks' fuse

Marie Havenga • Apr 4, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Spring Lake Township officials have shortened the fuse on the number of days they will allow recreational fireworks to fly through the night sky.

Following the lead of neighboring municipalities, the Township Board last week unanimously approved the new local law, which restricts fireworks usage from 30 to 12 days and increases the fine for violation from $50 to $1,000.

Township Supervisor John Nash said he would have preferred they moved some permitted fireworks days from around the Fourth of July to the local Coast Guard Festival celebration in late July and early August.

“I'm not at all happy they think they have to have six or seven days at the Fourth of July,” he said. “I think if (state officials) would have thought it through, they would have made it four days at the Fourth of July and then give the municipalities another four days if they want it for (local) celebrations. I think people are going to come to the Coast Guard Festival in August and people are going to say, 'What?'”

But, he noted, the City of Grand Haven, City of Ferrysburg and Village of Spring Lake have all approved the legislation as written.

“Grand Haven Township voted to have a day or two at Coast Guard Festival, and I really agree with them,” Nash said. “Everyone has a celebration — the Ionia Free Fair, Muskegon. ... Like I told the board, I'm voting for it because I'm empathizing with the police who will try to provide enforcement.”

Nash said he hopes this isn't the end of the discussion to add some allowable fireworks dates during the Coast Guard Festival.

“I don't think it's set in stone,” he said of new ordinance. “Hopefully, if what I think transpires, a lot of people will be concerned about it at Coast Guard Festival.”

State lawmakers last year approved three acts regarding the sale, possession and use of fireworks. Previously, local municipalities could allow fireworks on 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 be launched 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.

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.

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