BELDING — Now seven months into Gov. Snyder’s law making the purchase and use of consumer fireworks legal in Michigan, members of Belding City Council voted Tuesday night to limit the use of those very fireworks outside of the national holidays they are intended to be used for.
After receiving complaints from members of the community about excessive use of fireworks, city council members voted 4-0 to approve an amendment to the city’s code of ordinances. Councilman Jon Bunce was absent.
According to City Manager Randy DeBruine, the amended ordinance will affect the time that fireworks can be used during the 335 days outside of the 30 days allowed under state law, as well as changes to the penalty fees for violating the ordinance.
“Virtually, to sum this up in a nutshell, it would prohibit the use of fireworks between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m.,” he said. “It would only prohibit during the 335 days of the year not during the 30 days which is allowed under state law. There are different alternatives, but this is the direction that council decided to go at the last meeting.”
The ordinance reads; “No person shall at any time ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks within the city between the hours of 11 p.m. and 11 a.m. The foregoing restriction shall not apply on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday.”
According to wording in the amended ordinance, consumer fireworks are “firework devices that are designed to produce visible effects by combustion, that are required to comply with construction, chemical composition and labeling regulations promulgated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
This includes sky rockets, bottle rockets, missile-type rocket helicopters, aerial spinners and roman candles.
Low impact fireworks, which will continue to be legal, include ground and hand-held sparkling devices that do not explode.
Council members voted without much comment, having discussed the issue in detail during the July 17 meeting.
“I’m satisfied,” said Councilman Joe Feuerstein, referring to the council’s decision.
Councilwoman Andrea Belding did, however, bring special attention to one specific aspect of the amended ordinance — the fines.
“I just want to clarify, that there has been a raise in penalties,” she said.
According to DeBruine, a first-time offense of using fireworks during the 11 p.m to 11 a.m. timeframe outside of the 30 days deemed appropriate by state law will result in a $50 penalty.
A second offense will result in a penalty of $200 while a third offense will cost violators of the ordinance $500 in fees.
“Those numbers are double what our normal rates are for other ordinances,” he said. “We’ve put our teeth into it this time.”
During the allotted time given for citizens to comment at Tuesday’s meeting, no Belding residents spoke on the issue of the amended ordinance.