Tuesday, April 9, 2013
After fielding complaints about extended celebrations over the last Fourth of July holiday, Town Councilman Walter Bailey is proposing limits on the use of fireworks.
Bailey offered only the broadest of outlines at Monday’s finance committee meeting.
He asked Town Attorney G.W. Parker to prepare an ordinance, which would give council more details to debate.
His general idea, however, was to prohibit shooting audible fireworks after a certain hour, with exceptions for Independence Day and New Year’s Eve, and to prohibit shooting fireworks onto someone else’s property or public property.
Police Chief Bruce Owens said a fireworks ordinance would be difficult to enforce, because merrymakers are usually gone by the time officers arrive, but would at least give police the legal authority to order people to stop.
“Currently there’s no tool that we have. You can go there and ask them, but you don’t have a leg to stand on,” he said.
The existing noise and nuisance ordinances as written don’t cover fireworks, he said.
“I know in my neighborhood it would probably help,” Councilman Bob Jackson said.
If there were a law on the books, parents would know to make their kids stop at the specified hour, and most would, he said.
Bailey said he got complaints not simply because of loud fireworks on the night of the holiday, but on the nights leading up to and following the holiday.
If the town does pass an ordinance, town residents could still be affected by county residents in areas where the town and county overlap.
Dorchester County Council also received complaints last year about overenthusiastic fireworks.
Residents said bottle rockets hit their homes and in one case broke through a window.