Dickson Township adopts fireworks ordinance, regulating use

DICKSON TWP. — A new fireworks ordinance was adopted in Dickson Township, following several noise and debris complaints reported to the township board throughout the area.

A special meeting was held at the Dickson Township Hall on Wednesday night, the ordinance was adopted unanimously. The ordinance shall take effect 30 days after it is first published.

Those in Dickson Township will no longer be able to ignite, discharge or use consumer fireworks in the

Fireworks explode over Lake Michigan Tuesday night. This year’s display lasted longer than in previous years and was backed to patriotic music heard on 101.5 FM The Mitten. (David Navadeh/News Advocate)

Fireworks explode over Lake Michigan for the Fourth of July. (David Navadeh/News Advocate)

township, except for the day preceding, day of or the day after a national holiday — with the exception of between the hours of 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on those days, when ignition, discharge or use is prohibited.

Anyone who violates a provision of the ordinance is guilty of a civil infraction, and will be fined in an amount not less than $100 nor more than $500, for each violation.

“We were having a lot of problems with noise right in the township,” said Tracy Wilks, township board trustee. “That’s what brought it up, a lot of community input.”

Before, Wilks said Dickson Township had a noise ordinance, but that did not allow the township to enforce fireworks usage.

“When you have a noise ordinance, that’s all they can act on,” she said. “If somebody was to call and say ‘someone is setting off fireworks, the noise ordinance is 11 p.m.’ If it is after that, they have to catch them in action. They can come out from Manistee, but if they do not actually hear or see them they can’t do anything about it.”

Many of the complaints made to the township board were not only around holidays, but mostly during random parts of the week throughout the past few summers. Wilks said a surge of complaints were received this summer on noise, debris and potential fire hazards.

“There are a few people who come out to their vacation homes, who were lighting them off more often,” she said. “People are in bed at 10 p.m. and they are shooting fireworks off at 2 a.m. Like we said, it is not just because of that. There are other huge issues with fire, debris and stuff like that.

“A lot of people were approaching us outside, emailing or calling us individually, so we sat down as a board and decided it might be time to adopt an ordinance.”

Manistee County undersheriff Ken Falk said this year, around 40 complaints on fireworks were reported to Manistee County Central Dispatch. Most of the reported complaints were noise disturbances.

“There’s been a couple, more like, under six complaints in Dickson Township this year,” said Falk. “There has not been any fire related incidents this year. There have been in the past couple of years where fireworks started fires that the fire department did respond to.”

When the new fireworks ordinance goes into effect in Dickson Township, Falk said complaints should be brought to the township supervisor’s attention and could also be reported to Central Dispatch at (231) 723-6241.

However, if reported to Central Dispatch note that the call is non-emergent, if it is not a life-threatening circumstance.

“(Fireworks) are very dangerous, they burn people, start fires and disturb people,” said Falk. “That’s most of the complaints we get; most of the complaints (this year) were toward the end of June and the first week of July. Everyone is playing with them around the Fourth of July.”

Falk said the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office also enforces the following State of Michigan laws on fireworks, throughout the entire county:

• Setting off or using fireworks on public property, church property or private property of another without permission is a civil infraction, with a fine up to $500;

• Igniting or using fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is a misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine;

• Smoking within 50 feet of a retail fireworks sales point is a misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine; and

• Selling commercial fireworks to a minor is a civil infraction, with a fine up to $500.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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