Use of personal fireworks remains banned in Groveport


By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Groveport City Council snuffed out the fuse on citizens’ use of personal fireworks within the city limits.

At its June 12 meeting, council voted 4-3 to reject legislation that would have allowed citizens to launch personal fireworks only on the Fourth of July. Council members Jean Ann Hilbert, Jack Rupp, and Shawn Cleary voted to reject the legislation while Scott Lockett, Ed Dildine, and Becky Hutson favored it. Mayor Lance Westcamp cast the deciding vote to reject the legislation.

Because this legislation failed, the city’s existing law that completely bans the use of personal fireworks at any time within the city remains in effect.

Council’s action means Groveport’s local law is different than current state law that allows individuals to possess consumer grade fireworks and 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.

State 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.

Lockett felt the proposed legislation, which he sponsored, was “a good compromise” in that it would have allowed personal fireworks on at least one day of the year instead of the many that are allowed under state law. He said approval of the legislation would have shown that council is “flexible” and that it would have allowed police to fulfill other necessary duties on the Fourth of July rather than chasing down people firing off backyard fireworks. But Lockett added the issue was not just about fireworks.

“Our job (as council) is to protect the liberties and privileges of the residents,” said Lockett. “It’s legal across the state, but we’ve banned it before it’s a problem. It’s an over reach by council. It’s like we’re telling the residents we know better than them. We have to scratch and claw for our freedoms or they’re taken away. It’s ironic that on the Fourth of July, on a day we celebrate our freedoms, we (council) curtail them.”

Hilbert maintained it is a safety issue.

“I don’t want to take freedoms away,” said Hilbert. “It’s a health, safety, and welfare issue for me.”

She noted several residents expressed to her that they wanted the personal fireworks ban to remain in place because of the noise and potential danger. She added that the city provides residents with a fine fireworks display on the Fourth of July.

Rupp also said it is a safety issue and that council often has to make regulations in this regard in the best interests of the community. He felt resident Greg Keller made good points about the personal fireworks issue at a recent council meeting.

Keller maintained that personal fireworks are a dangerous safety hazard – particularly in an urban setting with nearby neighbors – and a noise problem. Keller said the loud noise of fireworks is harmful to military veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and to people’s pets.

Dildine, like Lockett, thought allowing personal fireworks one day a year would have been a good compromise. By rejecting the legislation he said the city missed an opportunity to relay proper safety information on the use of fireworks to the citizenry.

In casting the deciding vote to reject the legislation, Westcamp said several factors impacted his decision, including safety issues, the noise impact on pets and people, and the dangerous potential for personal fireworks to ignite grass and house fires.

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  1. I 100% agree with the comments by Scott Lockett.
    Groveport City still has a great heritage reputation, however is moving more toward a more communist view of society and who should have control.
    We the people should have control! I appreciate the efforts of our police department and keeping our community safe. That is not what this is about.
    We do have some council members that still think fireworks are supplied the same way as they were in the 1970’s. The fact is the dangerous type M-80’s ext. was federally banned years ago. Current firework manufacturers are producing better and safer products because they do not want their products injuring people. Obviously, some common sense is required using fireworks meaning a majority of the council members do not think the citizens of Groveport are smart enough to use common sense.
    What is next? If the citizens are not intelligent enough to possess a firecracker and could end up in jail for having one. Why should they be aloud to have a firearm? Will council take up what they will call “common sense” gun control laws next? So maybe you cannot own a gun now could come up for a vote?
    Related to the noise concern. The ordinance was revised to one day the 4th of July or when Groveport celebrates the 4th for personal use. In this article its stats Groveport City will have their own firework display on the 4th. I find it hard to believe that because Groveport City is setting off fireworks it would have less impact related to the noise concerns listed.
    I personally have a dog that fears firework noise. She is also scared of thunderstorms. If Groveport council can stop dangerous thunderstorms with a vote, I certainly would reconsider my stance on the personal fireworks use and other topics. Council would be God like!
    Names of all are listed and how they voted are all in the article. I understand that some vote without understanding the full aspects on what they vote on, and some are political posturing. I personally have respect for all members and their services on council, Mayor included I have voted for 20 years plus. Does not mean the majority is right in this case. That is why we have elections.
    I would like to hear comments regarding my post regarding this article and will be re-opening a Facebook account, plus. The current environment in the US requires a close look at who is representing your vote after you vote for them!
    FYI: There is going to be an airshow in Groveport starting tomorrow 6/16-6/18 2023. It is going to be loud! No one complaining about this? And congrats to Ed for getting to be a part of this!
    Best Regards to all!


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