Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 5, 2012

Townships limit the fireworks booms


TRAVERSE CITY — Some area townships plan to crack down on year-round use of newly legal and louder consumer-grade fireworks, but one township will remain a haven for black powder aficionados.

Peninsula and Acme townships adopted ordinances similar to Traverse City's law that bans fireworks except for the day before, the day of, and the day after a federal holiday. Violations are a civil infraction punishable by a fine, usually $100 for a first offense.

Garfield Township, though, won't ban the fireworks boom.

The local move to restrict fireworks erupted soon after state legislators overturned a decades-old ban on highly explosive, airborne pyrotechnics. Fireworks lovers literally lit up the night for weeks prior to and after the July 4 holiday, to the chagrin of those who prefer more silent nights.

"We're following suit like a lot of the townships," said Rob Manigold, Peninsula Township supervisor. "Maybe it's because we're surrounded by water, but many of our residents are complaining about people shooting off fireworks as soon as night falls. And then there's the ones who come home from the bars at 2 a.m. and shoot them off."

Acme Township received 40 or more complaints from residents about the new availability of fireworks, said Wayne Kladder, township supervisor.

"People weren't sleeping, dogs were barking, we even had a report of a fireworks war where people were shooting fireworks at each other," Kladder said. "It was just overwhelming."

Garfield Township, Grand Traverse County's most populous municipality, has no plans fizzle the sizzle, said Supervisor Chuck Korn.

"We had a brief discussion in August," Korn said. "The consensus was since this is the first year, let's give it a while before we do anything like a knee-jerk, like write a new law.

"We'll be a little piece of heaven," he said.

Garfield's neighboring townships of Blair and East Bay are moving toward fireworks restrictions.

East Bay Township officials will discuss a ban when it meets Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the township hall. Supervisor Glen Lile said he suspects the board will support drafting an ordinance to consider in November, based on a large number of complaints officials received.

Blair Township officials will vote on adopting a ban when it meets Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. in its township hall.

Green Lake and Long Lake townships haven't chosen which route to pursue.

"We've talked about it a little, but haven't made a decision yet," said Karen Rosa, Long Lake supervisor, who added she hasn't received as many complaints as she expected.