Moratorium on seasonal sales includes fireworks

FLINT TWP. — Vendors hoping for permits to set up outdoor fireworks booths during Memorial Day and possibly even the Fourth of July may get their hopes dashed. At its Monday night meeting, the township board approved a moratorium on all seasonal sales applications which applies to fireworks, Christmas trees, produce and such.

The action is in response to a perennial problem with numerous permit requests during warmer months that forces the township board to grapple with deciding which ones to allow.

Last September, the board approved a special committee to review options and find a workable plan for dealing fairly with applicants. That committee includes Clerk Kim Courts, Treasurer Marsha Binelli and Trustees Frank Kasle and Belenda Park.

Now they have decided to refer the process to the Planning Commission. The moratorium has been established to give the Planning Commission time to deliberate and bring its recommendation back to the board.

That was bad news for Jake’s Fireworks whose application was on the board agenda Monday night but postponed. Jake’s sought permission to set up firework tent sales at 3282 Miller Road from June 20 until July 5. A letter accompanying the application said Jake’s submitted an early request because last year two requests were denied because “too many” had already been granted.

Court said she would be consulting with the township attorney to determine the effect of the moratorium on outdoor fireworks sales already approved by the board.

The committee also is discussing a process for handling door-to-door sales permits. Matters came to a head last July when Courts overruled the board’s denial of an application, based on a legal opinion that the ultimate decision rests with the clerk if all permit requirements have been met. Until then, the board routinely denied requests deemed unsuitable, even if all conditions had been met.

Door-to-door sales applicants go through an extensive approval process including fingerprinting, providing a recent photograph and driver’s license information and paying a fee. Courts said then that she felt it was wrong to arbitrarily deny applicants who had successfully complied with the process.

But she said was open to discussion about changing the township soliciting ordinance which is why Kasle asked to establish the review committee.

Courts also noted that there is a difference between outdoor tent sales permits and seasonal sales permits. Established township business such as Harbor Freight Tools, Art Van Furniture an Kroger stores have been granted permits to conduct outdoor sales events.

The moratorium also does not apply to established year-round fireworks businesses.

The township board does not meet again until after Memorial Day which means the moratorium prohibiting outdoor fireworks sales will be in effect until at least the June 2 board meeting. One other regular board meeting is scheduled for June 16 prior to the Fourth of July fireworks sales period.

The next regular Planning Commission meeting is June 12.

As a reminder, the township approved a fireworks ordinance last summer that limits firework displays to a three-day period based on 10 legal holidays and the day before and after.

Those days are New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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