Township to amend fireworks ordinance

FLUSHING TWP. — Flushing Township is planning to implement changes to its fireworks ordinance.

At the Aug. 13 meeting, the Flushing Township Board of Trustees approved the first reading of an amended fireworks ordinance by a 6-1 vote. The amended ordinance will outline specific days when fireworks can be shot off in the township, while tightening enforcement on the illegal use of fireworks.

Supervisor Fred Thorsby said that the township has received many complaints from residents about fireworks being used on non-designated days. Under current state law, unrestricted fireworks can only be set off 12 days a year, including the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Thorsby said that the amended ordinance will be more specific in its enforcement and do more to punish the illegal use of fireworks.

“When the state law changed to allow fireworks to be set off on certain days, it didn’t say that you can’t set them off on other days,” he said. “What this ordinance does is specifically say that you can’t shoot them on non-designated days. We will allow them on the holidays, but the rest of the year they would not be legal to shoot.”

If a second reading of the amendments is passed, residents will only be able to set off fireworks around these designated holidays: New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day until 1 a.m.; Memorial Day and the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend until 11:45 p.m.; June 29 to July 4, and July 5 if the date falls on a Friday or Saturday, until 11:45 p.m.; and Labor Day until 11:45 p.m.

Under the amended ordinance, any township resident who sets off fireworks on an undesignated day will face a $1,000 fine for each offense. Individuals will also not be allowed to use fireworks on church or school property.

The ordinance will also prohibit minors from using fireworks and residents from setting off fireworks while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. An additional $100 fine will be added for infractions involving minors, reckless use and intoxication.

“Officers will have fair discretion to enforce the ordinance,” Thorsby said. “This doesn’t mean the police department will be on the lookout for illegal fireworks every day. But they can confiscate them, especially if someone is intoxicated and using them, or if kids are using fireworks.”

A second reading of the ordinance will take place at the Sept. 10 Flushing Township Board of Trustees meeting.