Lewiston to reconsider fireworks limits

LEWISTON — The city will take another swing at regulating the sale and use of fireworks.

Councilors will vote Tuesday on one of three plans to regulate privately used fireworks. The first would ban them entirely. The second would break the city into two zones, banning fireworks in Lewiston's urban downtown but allowing them in the outskirts — either all year or during certain holidays.

"Basically, it's what we presented to the last council," City Administrator Ed Barrett said. "At this point, I know there is interest in each of those options. So I think councilors will be eager to hear from people about what they think. We'll be holding a public hearing, and the council will have the choice of approving one or more of those."

That meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 21.

A new state law legalizes the sale and possession of fireworks as of Jan. 1. It does let cities and towns adopt their own limitations, however. Several cities have already done that, including Auburn, Bangor and Portland.

The previous City Council grappled with the issue but didn't take any action. It considered the zoned plan in November, but passed a complete ban on first reading, with two councilors voting against it.

The matter came up for a second reading two weeks later, but two councilors missed that meeting. Both supported the ban. City rules require at least four votes to approve an ordinance on first or second reading, and without those two positive votes, the measure failed.

"At this point, I think the council is most interested in hearing if people have any views or opinions about handling fireworks," Barrett said. 

The State Fire Marshal's Office said that no businesses had applied to sell retail fireworks in Lewiston as of Wednesday.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Douglas Mac antSaior's picture

Considering a great many of

Considering a great many of the residents already know how to use a Kalashnikov and RPG, a few Black Cats shouldn't be any problem.

Robert McQueeney's picture

Fireworks

It seems to me some common ground can be reached all around here. Some are concerned that fireworks will be going off all hours of the night, keeping people awake who need to work. Seems to me that enforcement of a noise ordinance would solve that problem without outlawing fireworks altogether. No fireworks after certain hours, except the following holidays:__________.

Others would be concerned about fire hazards, can't this be handled similar to burn permits? If it's too dry to safely use fireworks, don't issue the permit, otherwise hand them out freely.

Then there is the issue of public safety. Yes, sometimes things go awry, as in anything. Simple ordinances such as: No fireworks within a realistic distance of a house, etc... This would never absolve anyone of responsibility. You shoot off a firework, even at a prescribed safe distance, and you send one thru the window, you are still responsible.

How many of our recreational venues are not without an element of danger? Bars, for example. People drink there, and then have to go home... Swimming? Ever hear of drownings? Hiking, how many have turned an ankle? Biking, who here has never received any road rash?

Fireworks are legal, fun, and can be safe. Please don't pull out the dangerous card without looking at ways to make it safe.

Carl Kimball's picture

FIREWORKS

Ban them downtown, but allow on outskirts.

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