North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Marysville survey seeks input on fireworks ban

 


Marysville officials are considering a ban of fireworks and an ad-hoc committee formed on the issue plans to give its final recommendations this year.

The city has heard complaints every year from citizens and has made tweaks to its fireworks code, but hasn’t had a serious discussion about banning fireworks for the past 14 years, said City Council president and member of the fireworks committee Jeffrey Vaughan.

“Every year the council reviews our fireworks policy with our fire chief and how things have gone so far, and each year we have citizens who express concerns,” he said.

This year the council decided to be proactive and have a complete discussion, looking at both the benefits and negatives of fireworks and considering all options including a complete ban.

The city already has regulations that prohibit fireworks with the exceptions of July 4 and Dec. 31. Fireworks are legal on July 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and from 9 a.m. on Dec. 31 to 2 a.m. on Jan. 1.

How much a ban would actually change those dates is also something the committee must consider.

“The whole issue is complicated. Our proximity to Tulalip creates challenges for us. How effective are our efforts going to be when there are legal fireworks right there,” said Vaughan. “Can a change in our city code effectively change the behavior of our citizens? These are the things we have to consider,” he said.

“I think the folks that are law-abiding citizens will shut their fireworks down. I think there will be a decrease. Do I think we’ll get rid of it completely? No, because of where we are with Tulalip and Boom City. However, no matter what we’re going to have to deal with folks that are a little crazy,” said Police Chief Rick Smith during a previous city meeting.

Smith supported the ban because it reduces the problems of current enforcement, which involve finding the specific people lighting illegal fireworks and having to witness them light the illegal fireworks, which can be difficult during the bombastic heights of a normal Fourth of July.

On a survey at the city’s website a majority have come out in favor the ban, said city administrative officer Gloria Hirashima, with 53.28 percent of survey responders being in favor of a ban as of Jan. 7.

The public has also been decisive on the issue. “It is strongly felt on both sides of the issue. This is one of those subjects where there is not much neutrality,” said Hirashima.

Vaughan agreed that the issue has been polarizing, but he has felt the committee is trying to be open-minded and listen to both detractors and proponents. “It’s been interesting to learn that there are a lot of opinions that are very strong on both sides,” he said.

Many proponents of fireworks argued that the activity provides family fun and is an important part of the Fourth of July.

“It is tradition for nearly every family I know to light off fireworks on both Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve! Banning fireworks would take away that sense of family and fun this town still has,” wrote one anonymous survey commenter.

The money the local Boy Scouts and service clubs raise from selling fireworks would also be lost, they point out.

Opponents said that the current regulations for fireworks aren’t enforced well enough and that they had a hard time sleeping for work on July 4 or Dec. 31.

Others commented it causes anxiety for military personnel with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well.

Irresponsible use of fireworks was the most frequent complaint though.

Vaughan said the committee will give a recommendation to the Marysville City Council after they feel they have enough citizen input.

The city plans to keep their survey open and is still looking for responders. Those who want to give their input can find the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8JFX8WC or find the link at http://www.marysvillewa.gov.

The committee has enough data and stories from the police and fire department, but they really want to have a good grasp on citizen’s opinions before they make a final recommendation, said Vaughan.

“I would just encourage people to weigh in on this as our city staff has to understand where exactly where our citizens are on this issue to make this important decision for the future,” he said.

The committee also plans to have some other community outreach, whether it is mailing out questionnaires or potential community meetings, to get more input as well, said Vaughan.

 
 

Reader Comments
(1)

PGreen writes:

Ban fireworks for the love of God. All the grass is brown and highly flammable. The fire department does not have enough resources to deal with the amount of fires that will consume us. Please think smart

 
 
 
Quil Ceda Village - Favorite Neighborhood Stores

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017