Traverse City Record-Eagle

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March 16, 2014

Fireworks restrictions take hold in another local community

TRAVERSE CITY — A Benzie County township will join other local communities in restricting bangs and booms of fireworks.

Almira Township officials voted to limit the use of fireworks after residents complained about fireworks-related noise that frequently spread across all hours of the day.

Now, residents who live on fewer than five acres are restricted to shooting fireworks 30 days of the year. Violators could face a fine of up to $500.

“There are times when it is after midnight, 1 o’clock, and something goes off,” said Dale Flaherty, council president of the Village of Lake Ann. “There have been complaints of people from around the lake. Their dogs start barking and they get all kinds of problems.”

Flaherty said village officials also are considering a similar ordinance for continuity within the township.

Various townships in northwest lower Michigan already passed ordinances to restrict fireworks, laws that Almira Township Supervisor Mark Roper said were used as a model for the township’s new rules. Benzie County’s Lake Township passed a similar ordinance last fall.

“We’ve found that in the summertime, around the 4th of July especially, a lot of tourists come and they shoot fireworks off all times of night,” Lake Township Supervisor Bill Robinson said.

In 2012, officials in the Grand Traverse County townships of Blair, Peninsula and Acme passed laws to restrict fireworks use. Traverse City officials also passed such an ordinance in 2012, months after state legislators loosened Michigan’s decades-old ban on exploding and propelled fireworks and put the regulatory onus on local governments.

Some Almira Township residents expressed concern for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a public hearing March 4, according to meeting minutes.

Many Lake Ann residents have long chafed at periodic and unpredictable bursts of fireworks activity, even before the 2011 law loosened fireworks possession and use rules.

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