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Township fireworks ordinance enforced



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June 04, 2014 - Brandon Twp.- With about a month to go before Independence Day, several residents have started their celebrations early, prompting complaints from many more.

"We've had numerous complaints for fireworks out of season, all different times of the day and night, mostly evening and even as late as midnight, and 1 or 2 a.m.," said Oakland County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Greg Glover, substation commander. "We have not passed out tickets yet, but they're coming."

Glover said calls have been coming into dispatch for the last three weeks, almost non-stop since the weather has broke, regarding residents who are lighting off fireworks.

Doing so is in direct violation of a fireworks ordinance passed by the township board last fall. The ordinance adds a section "use of consumer fireworks" to the existing "Offenses against public peace" in the code of ordinances. The section states it shall be unlawful for any person to ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks except on the day preceding, the day of, or the day after a national holiday, including New Year's Day; Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday; Washington's birthday; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Columbus Day; Veteran's Day; Thanksgiving; and Christmas. On those days, the ignition, discharge, or use of consumer fireworks will be prohibited between midnight and 8 a.m. or between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on New Year's Day.

The ordinance continues by adding that fireworks will be permitted between the hours of 8 p.m. and midnight on the Friday and Saturday immediately preceding and immediately following the 4th of July holiday.

A person shall not ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks on public property, school property, church property, or the property of another person without that organization's or person's express permission at any time, and the possession or use of consumer fireworks at any time by a minor is prohibited.

Township Building and Planning Director Bill Dinnan proposed the ordinance in a memo to the board due to numerous complaints by residents after changes in state law regarding use of consumer fireworks.

In 2011, state legislators opened up sales of fireworks and usage in Michigan with the intent of capturing tax dollars lost to bordering states in which fireworks sales were legal. The Michigan legislation expanded the types of fireworks that could be ignited legally in the state including bottle rockets, aerial cakes, Roman candles, and firecrackers. All are sold legally after lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder erased the ban.

Last July, Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed legislation that allows any city, township or village to prohibit the use of fireworks between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m.on the national holidays and one day on either side.

Glover said anyone with complaints about illegal use of fireworks can call the substation at 248-627-4911 or Oakland County non-emergency dispatch at 248-858-4911.

"Deputies will respond and ticket offenders accordingly," he said.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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