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Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

City to revisit fireworks ordinance

April 17, 2002

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Fireworks are legal in Lawrence three days a year for now.

Lawrence city commissioners said Tuesday they won't consider new restrictions or prohibitions on amateur fireworks use until after this year's July 4 holiday.

"After that, we'll take a very hard look," Commissioner Marty Kennedy said.

Tuesday's discussion followed a busy fire season during last year's July 4 holiday. One apartment building was severely damaged by a fire started by errant fireworks.

The city allows fireworks use only three days a year, July 2-4. Sales inside city limits are prohibited, but fireworks can be stored if done in accordance with fire safety codes.

Patricia Sinclair, Lawrence, who has alleged her neighbors set fireworks illegally in her Barker neighborhood, told the commission Tuesday that an outright ban on fireworks would be safer and more workable than current regulations.

"No amount of pleading with the community to be nice and play by the rules will make this law enforceable," she said.

But Lawrence school board member Scott Morgan told the commission that fireworks were "not sacred, but an important part" of Independence Day celebrations. He said he would ask Lawrence Supt. Randy Weseman to find a way to incorporate safe fireworks use into the schools' fire-safety curriculum.

That sentiment was seconded by Marvin Pine, whose family has sold fireworks in Douglas County since 1947.

"I'm hoping you can do whatever you can to promote safety," Pine said.

Commissioner Jim Henry said the city eventually may look at restricting the times and locations of fireworks use. Others said the commission may go further.

"If we don't ban them this year, I think the years are numbered before we do," Commissioner Mike Rundle said.

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