By BRIAN McGILLIVARY
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Elmwood Township officials may reverse course and join the rest of Leelanau County in a fireworks ban for 335 days each year.
Township officials on Monday will consider enacting an ordinance recommended by the Leelanau County prosecutor and sheriff to ban fireworks — other than the day before, day of, and day after a national holiday.
Board members from the township that sprawls just north of Traverse City previously deadlocked on an early June motion to introduce the ban. But they reversed course after several residents complained.
“It’s like really hard when you have little kids,” Elmwood resident Heather Pineda told the board. “At 3 a.m. these explosions are going off and they are so loud it’s literally shaking the windows in our house. These are huge fireworks.”
Resident Paul Greeney said some people have fired industrial-sized fireworks along the waterfront into Grand Traverse Bay.
“It was absolutely incredible how loud it was,” Greeney said. “It was extraordinarily upsetting.”
Township Trustees Terry Lautner and Kyle Trevas voted against the proposed fireworks restriction. They instead wanted to prohibit fireworks use after midnight or on weekdays.
Illness caused township Supervisor Jack Kelly to miss the first vote, so he raised the issue at another meeting on June 24. Kelly said the proposed ordinance won’t instill a 1 a.m. curfew now allowed by state law because it’s not part of a uniform ordinance drafted by Joe Hubbell, Leelanau County’s prosecuting attorney.
“It needs to be uniform with the other townships so the prosecutor and sheriff will enforce it,” Kelly said. “Otherwise, I don’t have anybody to enforce or prosecute.”
Kelly predicted the board would adopt the ban when it meets Monday at 6 p.m. in the township hall.
Sheriff Mike Borkovich said once all the county’s townships agree to Hubbell’s blueprint he will print a brochure similar to a baseball schedule that highlights allowable days for fireworks use.
“A lot of people aren’t coming up here to get in trouble, they just don’t know the rules,” Borkovich said. “Once we get an educational piece out it will eliminate 80 percent to 90 percent of it.”
Hubbell said he expects local townships eventually will want to adopt the 1 a.m. curfew now allowed for fireworks on and around national holidays. But he didn’t want to wait for the state legislature to act to get some form of fireworks restriction on the books. Most ordinances require a 30-day waiting period before they take effect, so for now only one or two of the county’s townships enacted some form of prohibition.
“So the fireworks are going to go off,” Hubbell said.