Fairfield moves to limit fireworks dates

The Fairfield City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance Monday to limit when fireworks can be discharged in city limits.

The new ordinance will allow fireworks to be discharged on just two days during the year: July 4 from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m., and Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. the next day.

The existing ordinance allows discharging fireworks from June 30 through July 8, and from Dec. 30 through Jan. 2.

Councilors pointed out that fireworks could still be purchased during a much larger window. Beginning in 2017, the state permitted the sale of fireworks from June 1 through July 8, and again from Dec. 10 to Jan. 3.

Councilor Daryn Hamilton noted that a few cities, most notably Cedar Rapids, have banned the discharge of fireworks altogether after receiving so many complaints from their residents.

Councilor Martha Rasmussen was hesitant to approve the motion.

?I think it?s very restrictive to limit it to one day [in July],? she said.

Rasmussen noted that July 4 can fall on any day of the week. When the council approved the more permissive discharge schedule last year, a commonly held sentiment among the council was that the city should accommodate those who wish to discharge fireworks on the weekend.

Mayor Ed Malloy said he expected the city to get some pushback on allowing the discharge of fireworks only on July 4.

Hamilton mentioned that several people called the police department over New Year?s, thinking they had heard gunshots.

Police chief David Thomas said that, as far as he and his staff could tell, the gunshots reported were probably fireworks.

The ordinance the council voted on Monday dealt only with the allowable dates for discharging fireworks. The city will continue to enforce other fireworks related rules, such as:

? Only individuals aged 18 and over may purchase fireworks.

? Only shoot fireworks on property where permission has been given.

? Fireworks are not permitted on public property, which includes the right-of-way (i.e. street, sidewalks and parks).

? Individuals under the age of 17 may only shoot fireworks under direct adult supervision.

? Persons intoxicated or impaired may not discharge fireworks.

? Keep a distance of 20 feet from buildings or people when lighting fireworks.

? Persons are liable for all fireworks on their property and in their possession, those they discharge and those discharged by others.

? Do not alter, remove or handle powder from fireworks. Never disassemble fireworks.

? Violating fireworks laws will result in costly fines.