Ferndale to vote on limiting fireworks to July 4, Dec. 31

Starting in 2016, Ferndale residents likely will be able to shoot off fireworks only on July 4 and New Year’s Eve, after the City Council directed the city staff to write up a more restrictive fireworks ordinance.

City Council voted 6-1 at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 2, with Keith Olson opposed, to direct city staff to write an ordinance that would restrict fireworks use to 9 a.m. to midnight July 4 and 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 1 a.m. Jan. 1.

City Council will vote on the ordinance at its Sept. 15 meeting. If the council adopts the ordinance at that meeting, then the restrictions wouldn’t be implemented until September 2015, so next Fourth of July would still have the city’s current fireworks laws.

Those fireworks laws match those of the state: They are allowed from noon to 11 p.m. June 28; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 29 through July 3; 9 a.m. to midnight July 4; and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 5; as well as New Year’s Eve from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The City Council had multiple public hearings throughout the summer about possibly banning or restricting fireworks in the city, after Councilwoman Cathy Watson expressed concern that fireworks activity in the city was escalating. The hearings drew ban supporters who said the weeks of loud explosions were disruptive for their families and their pets, as well as opponents who thought a ban would destroy a longstanding American tradition.

Many agreed that limiting fireworks use to July 4 would be a fair compromise, as some residents believed that was already the only day fireworks were legal.

“Most people already were saving them for July 4,” City Clerk Sam Taylor said. “I don’t think this will necessarily be much of a change for most people.”

City Council didn’t address firework sales in its call for an ordinance, but Taylor said the city likely will consider having sales start later, rather than the current June 28 start date.