New fireworks ordinance on City Council Agenda |

New fireworks ordinance on City Council Agenda

After nearly a year of colorful debate, the Grass Valley City Council has decided that “Safe and Sane” fireworks should stay legal in city limits during the time surrounding the Fourth of July.

That decision will become official at tomorrow’s meeting, where the council will adopt its first fireworks ordinance. There are only a few major changes to how fireworks have been dealt with locally in the past.

“The city council believes that (Safe and Sane) fireworks, used safely, are part of the tradition of the Fourth of July,” Grass Valley Fire Chief Hank Weston said. “This policy lays the responsibility on the people using them.”

In essence, Safe and Sane fireworks are ones that do not leave the ground. Fireworks that get off the ground are illegal in California, Weston said.

The explosive debate began last year, Weston said, when some residents complained about the potential danger of legal fireworks. They wanted the city to ban fireworks altogether, he said.

A committee was formed to research the matter, and studied the ordinances in other California cities and counties.

“The committee did not feel (a ban was necessary),” Weston said. “But they did feel the city’s policy needed tightening up.”

The major difference between the city’s ordinance and California state law is that while the state allows anyone over 16 to buy fireworks, a Grass Valley resident has to be at least 18 years old.

Residents who buy fireworks will have to sign a release saying they have seen a firework safety handout and the county map of where fireworks may be ignited.

Also, an agency may apply just once for a permit.

“You can’t submit them under different names just to get an extra booth,” Weston said.

The city will limit number of approved permits to nine for now, and no extra permits will be issued until the city’s population hits 20,000

Nonprofit groups such as the Peardale 4H, and the Nevada Union High School Choir and Jazz band have previously sold fireworks.

“If you play by the rules, you can continues to have fun,” Weston said. “If you don’t, the next step is a total ban.”

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