BOYNE CITY -- Those who wish to set off fireworks all night long in Boyne City will now have that opportunity on specific days of the year. The same goes for every other city in Michigan.
The Boyne City Commission unanimously voted to approve an ordinance at its meeting Tuesday to allow unrestricted use of consumer fireworks on the day before, the day of and the day after 10 designated holidays. The ordinance also prohibits any use at all of fireworks except by permit on every other day of the year.
In 2012, the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act came into effect. The law prohibits local governments from enforcing any ordinance that regulates fireworks on national holidays. Those holidays include New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Boyne City had its own ordinance in place regulating fireworks use. It dictated fireworks were not to be used between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m. But, the days on which they were allowed to be used was not restricted. That ordinance was negated by the new act, thus the need for the newly adopted ordinance.
Boyne City also prohibits the use of fireworks by minors. That rule will remain in effect 335 days of the year, when fireworks can only be used with a permit. But for those 10 days surrounding national holidays, the city has no ability to enforce the rule and so on those days, minors will be allowed to detonate fireworks.
Passage of the state law in 2012 prompted an uptick in complaints to the city's police department regarding fireworks.
Police Chief Jeff Gaither reported at the end of the year that the department received 12 complaints in 2011 and 27 last year.
"This ordinance gives police the ability to act when ... Some of the ridiculous stuff that happens in my neighborhood happens. People are tired of it," said Mayor Ron Grunch. "We really need to take control of our fireworks. What we can control is the 335 days it's not covered in the state law. This gives police the authority to act when people are violating our ordinance."
Commissioner Laura Sansom and Mayor Pro Tem Gene Towne agreed with Grunch, but Commissioner Derek Gaylord stated he remains steadfast in his opposition to any regulation beyond what is prohibited by the state.
Jim Baumann, Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce director, spoke as a private citizen at the meeting. "This was poorly conceived legislation ... it was rushed through. There are many cities that are upset the state has forced this on them," said Baumann, of his opposition to the state law restricting cities from regulating fireworks on those holidays. Why, he asked, must people be allowed to set off fireworks the day before, day of and day after Columbus Day?
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