Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 20, 2018

Fireworks ordinance approved by council

Oct 05, 2017

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL

After brief statements from the Washington City Council members Tuesday evening, the ordinance restricting the use of fireworks in Washington passed its third reading 4-2 and became law. Council members Millie Youngquist and Kerry Janecek voted against the issue. During the Sept. 19 meeting, Youngquist and Janecek had said they wanted the ordinance to be changed to ban fireworks from Washington totally. Previously the city’s fireworks ordinance allowed fireworks to be shot off on 11 days during the year. The amended ordinance limits the number of days to three. The original ordinance was approved shortly after the state approved the sale of fireworks and gave municipalities the freedom to determine usage, with the council wanting an ordinance in place before Independence Day. The amended ordinance was drafted as a compromise after council members had received input advocating both a total ban and keeping the ordinance the way it was. Shooting fireworks is now limited to July 3 and 4 and Dec. 31.

“This has been a real discussion-starter in the community for quite some time now,” council member Kathryn Salazar said. “I think we have discussed it a lot and we have gotten a lot of feedback from the public. I still feel this is a fair and reasonable compromise. It allows for the use of fireworks within city limits at designated times that will allow people or their pets knowledge in advance of when the fireworks will be in use so they can make a choice to either stay or leave town for that period of time.”

Since the discussion of amending the ordinance began, several people had approached the council regarding fireworks. Input on both sides of the argument had been gathered.

Council member Brendan DeLong said he saw both sides of the issue and that he thought the ordinance was fair and met both sides in the middle.

He also said he believes people who are for fireworks in town aren’t as “outspoken” as people who are against them.

Council member Jaron Rosien reminded the council that if the amendment failed, the law would revert to the original ordinance, that allows fireworks for 11 days.

“This is a lose-lose situation,” he said. “The people who want them aren’t happy and the people who don’t want them at all aren’t happy.”

Youngquist reaffirmed her position that fireworks should be banned.

“I just don’t feel having fireworks and people afraid for their property and set emotionally is going to make Washington a better place,” she said.

Janecek also said he is against a compromise. He said the issue may come up again next year.

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