By Jim Hayden
Fireworks complaints have made a big bang with Saugatuck officials. City council Monday began the process of limiting when individuals can launch their own pyrotechnics.
“It can’t come soon enough,” said councilman Jeff Spangler. The proposed rules line up the city’s ordinance with new state laws, according to the council.
The proposed ordinance was introduced Monday and could be voted on March 25, giving residents time to comment.
Under the current ordinance, residents can use fireworks the day of, before and after any national holiday except between 1 and 8 a.m.
The proposed standard limits consumer fireworks to Dec. 31 through Jan. 1 to 1 a.m., the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day until 11:45 p.m., June 29 through July 4 until 11:45 p.m., July 5, if that date is a Friday or Saturday, until 11:45 p.m., and the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day until 11:45 p.m.
No fireworks may be used before 11 a.m. under the proposed ordinance.
The current rules fine violators up to $500. The proposed changes levy a fine of $1,000 with $500 going to the city to enforce the ordinance and $500 to the state.
The city has received complaints from residents about late-night fireworks. A letter dated Feb. 4 from Michael Koczwara of State Street said he was awoken by fireworks at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 1.
“Recently I became aware of another Michigan city that is considering new firework ordinances. I think we should investigate possible changes to our own,” he wrote.
The rules do not affect municipal fireworks displays such as those on July 4 and at Venetian Festival.
In other business, council approved the permit for the 17th annual Erin Go Bark St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16. Mayor Ken Trester will lead marchers, who will start at Griffith and Mason streets, then head to Culver Street to Butler Street.
Council also approved a Lakeshore Community Chorus application for a banner to be installed at the pallet sign on Lake Street at Blue Star Highway promoting its concerts at 7:30 p.m. May 18 and 4 p.m. May 19.