Ypsilanti Township officials express frustration over new firework limits
Ypsilanti Township will prohibit fireworks between midnight and 8 a.m. on the day of, day before and day after federal holidays.
The hours are specified by state law, and elected officials, who unanimously approved the first reading of ordinance wording, expressed frustration that they can't prohibit fireworks earlier in the evening.
“I live in a blue collar neighborhood and people are shutting their lights off at 9 o’clock and getting up at 4 a.m.,” said Trustee Mike Martin.
The ordinance comes after the Michigan State Legislature passed a law in 2012 stripping local municipalities of their ability to outlaw fireworks during the day before, day of, and day after national holidays.
New legislation signed into law earlier this month allows local governments to ban them between midnight and 8 a.m. on those days.
In September of last year, Ypsilanti Township banned fireworks every other day of the year following complaints from residents and a series of fires caused by fireworks.
The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department reported a spike in the number of noise complaints last summer and the Ypsilanti Township Fire Department said the number of fires and calls related to fireworks were up.
At its meeting on Monday, the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved a first reading of the ordinance. But because there still needs to a be a second reading and a publication of the ordinance’s language in a newspaper of record, the new time limits will not take effect until after the Fourth of July.
Martin said there were recently fireworks blasts late at night and early in the morning on weeknights in the Crestwood subdivision. He said he called Sheriff's Department Lt. Jim Anuskiewizc about the issue and the deputies were able to get whoever was shooting the fireworks to stop.
“I understand people wanting to enjoy the holiday - the day before, the day after- but 11, 12 at night when it’s a work night seems a little excessive,” he said.
“We don’t have the opportunity under state law to do it any earlier,” Mike Radzik, director of the office of community standards told the board.
Supervisor Brenda Stumbo expressed frustration with the law.
“We can ask (state lawmakers) to make it earlier. It’s one of the worst state laws ever,”
On New Year’s Day the township can only ban fireworks between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Ann Arbor City Council passed the new limits last week.
In Snyder's absence, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on June 19 signed the legislation that allows local governments to prohibit the use of consumer fireworks between midnight and 8 a.m.
"This is a common-sense bill that respects the preferences of communities by letting local authorities decide when fireworks can and cannot be used," Calley said.
House Bill 4743, sponsored by state Rep. Harold Haugh, D-Roseville, also guarantees all of the fees that vendors pay for fireworks safety go toward local firefighter training programs.