Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The Fourth of July might not be a week-long celebration this year, if an ordinance under consideration by Summerville Town Council goes through.
Council gave first reading last Wednesday to an ordinance restricting the times and places fireworks can be used.
With exceptions for the nights of July 4 and New Year’s Eve, it would be illegal to discharge fireworks after 10 p.m.
On those two holidays, fireworks could be discharged until 1 a.m.
The ordinance would also prohibit people from firing fireworks onto others’ property.
Violating the ordinance would be a criminal charge yielding a $500 fine, 30 days in jail, or both.
Councilman Walter Bailey initiated the ordinance after fielding complaints from constituents last year that Independence Day lasted far longer than a day.
With the Fourth on a Wednesday last year, people were inspired to start shooting fireworks the weekend before and continue through the weekend after.
At a finance committee meeting last month, Police Chief Bruce Owens said enforcement could be a problem because offenders are usually gone by the time police arrive.
However, an ordinance would give the police legal authority to make people stop firing fireworks, he said.
Right now, the police can only ask, he said. Councilman Bob Jackson said he thought that parents would ensure their children abide by the time limitations, once they realize there are limits in place.