By BOB OLIVER
HEIGHTS — After a few years of fielding multiple complaints from residents regarding the discharging of fireworks, the City Council adopted a resolution asking for a change to the state’s fireworks law.
The resolution was adopted unanimously at the council’s Sept. 9 meeting and will be sent to members of the state Senate and House of Representatives.
Mayor Dan Paletko shared with the council a letter and sample resolution provided by state Sen. Glenn Anderson (D-6th District) who introduced two bills designed to restore the ban on aerial and explosive fireworks that was removed in 2011 to spur more revenue for the state in fireworks sales.
Anderson said in the letter that the law change has made matters worse for municipalities.
“Ample evidence over the past two-and-a-half years indicates that the Legislature made a huge mistake in allowing the sale and use of these fireworks,” Anderson said. “Michigan has experienced a serious increase in property damage and injury. The individual right of citizens to peacefully enjoy their homes has been significantly impaired.”
Anderson said expected revenue from the fireworks sale has not been sufficient to compensate residents for the threat to their health and that local police departments don’t have the resources available to enforce local ordinances.
He added that many local police and fire chiefs across the state have spoken out against the current laws.
Fire Chief Dave Brogan previously said firefighters across the state are lobbying for stronger fireworks laws and that he he hopes local municipalities will be given more power in regulating fireworks.
Councilman Joseph Kosinski said council members have been concerned because a lot of residents are upset with fireworks going off every day at various hours regardless of whether it is around a holiday and that the more powerful fireworks cause a great disturbance.
He also said the laws should be more restrictive with fireworks sales and usage.
“I don’t believe that anyone should be handling fireworks except for trained professionals at events where safety precautions have been taken,” Kosinski said. “The risk of an accident or injury is just too great. That brief moment of excitement from the fireworks is simply not worth the risk of property damage or injury.”
According to Police Department records, police were called 252 times by residents between June 1 and Aug. 30 for fireworks complaints.
The state enacted Public Act 65 of 2013, which allows local units of government, based on population, to regulate the use of consumer fireworks during certain hours on the day before, day of and day after a national holiday, though city officials have still said that they would like to see further restrictions put into place.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected])