Ypsilanti Township approves ordinance limiting use of fireworks
The Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees has unanimously approved a second reading of a fireworks ordinance that limits when residents can use large fireworks.
The board unanimously approved the measure at its Sept. 24 meeting and it will go into effect on Oct. 4.
The state lifted a ban on large fireworks this year, and officials say it has used a significant amount of firefighter and law enforcement resources addressing problems created by the use of fireworks.
The state law strips local governments of the ability to prohibit use of fireworks on federal holidays or the days before and after.
But the law does grant municipalities the ability to restrict the use of fireworks every other day of the year, and the new ordinance in Ypsilanti Township makes it a misdemeanor to ignite or discharge fireworks on all but the 10 federal holidays and the days before and after each.
"Therefore we have reduced the public safety hazard and public nuisance to 30 days versus 365 days of the year," said Ypsilanti Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo.
The ordinance is enforceable by township ordinance officers and Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department deputies.
The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department has reported a spike in the number of noise complaints over the summer and the Ypsilanti Township Fire Department said the number of fires and calls related to fireworks is up.
Ypsilanti Township officials have said they believe the state loosened the regulations to bring money into the state.
The state charges a fee of approximately $600 for people to become fireworks vendors, which provides it with needed revenue. Local municipalities receive around 20 percent of those funds because they are charged with regulating the vendors.
"My understanding is that the state elected officials who passed this law did it to generate money for our state, but in my opinion the amount of money generated is not enough to justify the havoc it has caused in our community and burden on our police and fire," Stumbo said.
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.