Hearing on Bellingham fireworks ban set for June 3


BELLINGHAM - City Council has agreed to hold a June 3 public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would ban all personal fireworks possession and use within the city limits, beginning no sooner than mid-2014.

The hearing is scheduled to occur near the start of the regular council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. that day in council chambers at City Hall, 210 Lottie St.

The existing city fireworks ordinance, adopted in 2002 and amended in 2005, generally limits use of personal fireworks in the city to Dec. 31, Jan. 1 and July 4. The ordinance also restricts the size of fireworks that can be sold and discharged even on those days.

But violations of that ordinance are common, and so are complaints to police about the noise. Some city residents have argued that a total ban would be easier to enforce and would eventually curb both the nuisance noise and the risks to public safety.

According to state law, any new city fireworks ban would have to be passed by council one year before it takes effect. That means the council has just a few more weeks to pass a new ordinance if council members want it to be in force for July 4, 2014.

The council voted unanimously to schedule the hearing, but not everyone on the council is ready to vote for a ban. At a Monday committee session, council member Terry Bornemann argued that much of the troublesome noise results from fireworks activity that already is illegal.

Reach John Stark at 360-715-2274 or john.stark@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/politics or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldpolitics.

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