Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday made it three days a year that people can shoot off fireworks here without getting fined. Assembly members also added language to permit other displays for special occasions.
The assembly had changed the proposed fireworks in the first and second readings. It started off with three days a year for allowing use of smaller, consumer fireworks. Those days were removed, then two added back in.
Local resident Tom Laurent asked the assembly for more changes.
“I think you’re going to have to have the third (of July) as another day on the ordinance because the main show that is shot here by the pyro-technicians in town is trying to be moved to the third and you’re going to have a lot of people shooting fireworks even illegally around that show,” Laurent told the assembly. He also suggested allowing someone to get permitted for a fireworks display for a wedding or other special occasion.
The assembly liked those changes. Kurt Wohlhueter wanted to add language for that special occasion permit.
“He would like to see and so would I an opportunity for a special group or use permit any time of the year for like if there was a wedding or whatever was going to happen, birthday party or something, where they’d have to get permission from the fire department and the police department to be able to set off some fireworks for a specific length of time,” Wohlhueter said.
Those shows would only be for smaller fireworks that can be commonly purchased. That change passed the full assembly unanimously.
The old city law prohibited even the possession of most fireworks but had no fines attached. The new ordinance creates fines for use or sale within the old city limits or service area one. At their last meeting, the assembly voted to allow use on December 31st and July 4th. Assembly member Taylor Norheim agreed with the suggestion to add July 3rd to the allowable days. But Jeigh Stanton Gregor was against that change.
“I’ll be voting no for this not because I don’t like fireworks I most certainly do but I can go to my boat or use them outside of service area one,” Stanton Gregor explained. “Whenever we’re changing rules and regs in the borough I feel like we need a compelling reason to do so.”
Stanton Gregor did not see a compelling argument to add another day each year. He was the only vote against that change however. The amended ordinance passed by a 5-2 vote with Stanton Gregor and mayor Mark Jensen against it.
Fines for shooting off fireworks would start at 150 dollars and go as high as 500 dollars for a third offense. Larger displays and sale of fireworks would also mean a 500 dollar fine. That was the third and final reading for that new law. It takes effect immediately. Allowed fireworks hours on those three days start at noon and go until 1 a.m. the following day.