The Town Council voted 4-0 to amend the Town’s fireworks ordinance after holding a second reading of the proposed changes at their meeting Monday night.
Town Councilor John Farrell was not present for the meeting.
As amended, the ordinance requires any person lighting fireworks in the town to obtain a free permit.
The new ordinance addresses the difficulty the Town has had enforcing its fireworks regulations, which previously operated “on an honor system,” according to Town Manager Kevin Smith, who collaborated with the Fire Department to develop the proposed fireworks ordinance.
Rather than obtaining a $50 permit for lighting over $500 worth of fireworks, as previously required, residents must now obtain a free permit each time they dispense fireworks.
Smith said requiring permits for all fireworks displays and including new language in the ordinance will allow the Town to monitor the frequency of fireworks use, as well as to better regulate safe practices and enforce restrictions on their display.
A permit will not be required for fireworks displays on July 4, or on the three days preceding and following the national holiday, to avoid an influx of requests for permits that week.
Permits will be limited to 12 per calendar year, and displays on the July 4 weekend are not included as one of those 12 displays.
Safety regulations have also been added to the ordinance, such as “fireworks should be lit no closer than 75 feet away from a combustible source,” empowering the Police Department to enforce them.
Additional safety regulations included in the ordinance are: fireworks cannot be discharged any closer than 50 feet from any overhead wiring, and spectators must be positioned no closer than 75 feet from the discharged fireworks, or no closer than the clearances recommended by the manufacturer.
Councilor Joe Green proposed adding to the amended ordinance a reference to the Town’s noise ordinance, which limits loud noises from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m., so that the Police Department may respond to complaints of fireworks being discharged during those hours.
The Council also amended the proposed ordinance to include businesses and other entities in the limitation of 12 fireworks permits per calendar year.