Obetz enacts fireworks law

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By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

A new Ohio law, which went into effect July 1, allows individuals to possess consumer grade fireworks.

The new state law specifically allows any person authorized to possess consumer grade fireworks to discharge them on their own property or on another person’s property with permission on the following days: New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; Juneteenth; July 3, 4, and 5 and the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays preceding and following; Labor Day weekend; Diwali; and New Year’s Eve.
However, the law permits local governments to restrict the dates and times when individuals may discharge consumer grade fireworks or to impose a complete ban on the use of consumer grade fireworks.

At its June 27 meeting, Obetz City Council passed the city’s own fireworks legislation. Under the Obetz law, personal fireworks use is allowed on:New Year’s Day; Chinese New Year’s Day; the fifth day of May; the last Monday in May, and the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding that day; June 19; the third, fourth, and fifth days of July; the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before and after the fourth day of July; the first Monday of September, and the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding that day; Diwali; and New Year’s Eve.

The Obetz law further states that: fireworks shall not be discharged after 11 p.m. except on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Eve, fireworks can be discharged until 12:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day; fireworks cannot be discharged in the front yard, directed toward neighboring properties, or directed toward the street; and property owners must clean up any debris that lands in the street or on neighboring properties.

Resident D. J. Stephens, addressed Obetz Police Deputy Chief Brian Jeffers, who filled in for Police Chief Michael Confer at council’s July 11 meeting, concerning complaints she had about fireworks being set off when not allowed.

“I know there’s a new ordinance that just passed this year, based on the Ohio law,” said Stephens. “Why is it that they are not enforcing this new ordinance? And then neighbors have to call the police to get anything done? And once the police come out, they don’t tell people that they’re breaking the law. They tell them that neighbors are complaining. You guys are appeasing the few at the expense of the many and it’s very frustrating when they break the law because the ordinance states, not after 11 p.m., not in the front yard, and not towards the street or other houses. My neighbor was in the middle of the intersection. I think he started on the Friday before the Fourth.”

Jeffers asked if someone called to have an officer dispatched there.

“Yes,” said Stephens. “And then they started yelling at neighbors for calling the police after the police left. I mean, officers can drive around and see what’s going on in the air, right?”

Jeffers replied that the problem with driving around and trying to find who shot off the fireworks is difficult because the fireworks go up at weird angles.

“I know from trying to do this in the past,” said Jeffers. “It’s hard to tell exactly what they come from a lot of times.”

“I’m upset because it scares my cat,” said Stephens. “If you’re going to have an ordinance, it needs to be enforced.”

Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson agreed it needs to be enforced and said, “We will take a look at who was out there and why they were giving that advice.”

Added Mayor Angela Kirk said city officials will review the situation and have discussions with police officer about enforcement.

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