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Wrightstown considers restrictions on fireworks

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The complaints have been numerous.

And now, Wrightstown officials are looking to impose regulations on the usage of fireworks within township borders.

At a public work session meeting on Sept. 26, the township’s board of supervisors gave consideration to a draft ordinance that would implement rules and related penalties regarding fireworks.

Key provisions under consideration include that consumer fireworks would only be allowed to be ignited or discharged during certain holidays, dates and times, unless a special permit is received.

Permissible holidays include Memorial Day Weekend, July 4th, Labor Day Weekend, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Diwali. In general, allowed times are between noon and 10 p.m.

Consumer fireworks are ones that everyday folks over the age of 18 can legally purchase in Pennsylvania.

In part, the ordinance defines consumer fireworks as “any combustible or explosive composition or any substance or combination of substances which is intended to produce visible or audible effects by combustion and which is suitable for use by the public, complies with the construction, performance, composition and labeling requirements promulgated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission in 16 Code of Federal Regulations…”

The term does not include devices such as “ground and hand-held sparkling devices.”

The ordinance would place other limitations on consumer fireworks. They couldn’t be used within 150 feet of any structure, an animal housing facility or fenced area designed to confine livestock. They’d also be barred from discharge/ignition on township properties and streets, and couldn’t be set off on any public or private property within Wrightstown without the permission of the owner.

“Sparks or any portion of the fireworks” may not land on another property without the owner’s permission. Notably, a property owner would need at least two acres if they want to discharge aerial consumer fireworks, which are defined as any type of firework that functions in the air, such as a shell, Roman candle, rocket or repeater.

The ordinance also addresses display fireworks, which are large fireworks to be used solely by professional pyrotechnicians and designed primarily to produce visible or audible effects by combustion, deflagration, or detonation.

“It shall be unlawful,” the proposed ordinance reads, “for any person, persons, firms or corporations, amusement parks, fair associations or other organizations or groups of individuals to utilize display fireworks within the limits of the township unless a permit therefor is first granted by the Board of Supervisors.”

Furthermore, the proposed local law states that the use of display fireworks must be conducted, handled and supervised by a state-licensed operator.

“Such display shall be of such character and so located, discharged or fired as in the opinion of the Board of Supervisors, or its duly authorized representative, after proper inspection, shall not be hazardous to property or endanger any person or persons,” the ordinance articulates.

Any violations of the ordinance could be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.

Wrightstown Supervisor Chairman Chester Pogonowski noted that the ordinance remains under consideration in a draft stage and that there could be changes. Still, the sense is that Wrightstown will ultimately move forward with some regulations on fireworks.

Said Pogonowski: “This ordinance was originally suggested by the township Planning Commission based on numerous complaints from residents concerning the use of consumer fireworks, which are now legal in Pennsylvania.”

Wrightstown Township

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