Ven­dors must ad­here to rules

Fire­works reg­u­la­tions less re­stric­tive in coun­ties than in cities

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - STACY RYBURN

Years of la­bor in the sum­mer heat, un­load­ing trucks and metic­u­lously pack­ing and un­pack­ing rows of ex­plo­sives haven’t de­terred Darla Sul­li­van and her fam­ily from spend­ing ev­ery Fourth of July sell­ing fire­works out of a tent.

Ac­tu­ally, they em­brace it. Sul­li­van’s daugh­ter, Sheena Brown, 27, has worked ev­ery year on the days sur­round­ing In­de­pen­dence Day since she was 14. Not be­cause her mother makes her, but be­cause she wants to. Sul­li­van started work­ing at fire­works stands a few years be­fore that. It’s all Brown’s 9-yearold son, Joshua, has ever known.

On Thurs­day, Brown’s 3-year-old daugh­ter, Ca­dence, ea­gerly wanted to know when they could shoot off fire­works. Sul­li­van’s other daugh­ter, Madi­son Sul­li­van, cel­e­brated her 20th birth­day Thurs­day. She has got­ten used to spend­ing birth­days in a fire­works stand.

Madi­son also is get­ting mar­ried next year dur­ing the same week. The wedding will be at a sep­a­rate venue.

“I think she’ll draw the line there,” Darla Sul­li­van said.

This year marks the first time the fam­ily has worked out of the Fire­works City tent near Fox Hunter Road and Mis­sion Boule­vard, just out­side Fayet­teville.

Pre­vi­ously, they worked in Spring­dale, where they live.

Ad­mit­tedly, it’s a lit­tle eas­ier to set up shop in the county as op­posed to within a city, Darla Sul­li­van said. She al­ways had her tape mea­sure ready in Spring­dale. The city, like Fayet­teville, has such re­quire­ments as stands must be at least 50 feet from the street and 250 feet from a fuel sta­tion.

Wash­ing­ton County fol­lows state re­quire­ments, mean­ing sales can take place from June 20 to July 10, and a fire mar­shal has to in­spect the tent. Ven­dors have to re­new their li­censes ev­ery year and pay a $25 ap­pli­ca­tion fee. Cities gen­er­ally have more re­stric­tive mea­sures.

Sell­ing fire­works in Fayet­teville is only al­lowed in com­mer­cial zones. Ap­pli­cants have to get an out­door ven­dor per­mit, pro­vide a site plan and pay a $500 ap­pli­ca­tion fee. A $1 mil­lion in­sur­ance pol­icy is re­quired. The fire mar­shal re­view cri­te­ria is made up of a dozen bul­let points with dozens more sub­cat­e­gories. Sales start June 28 and end July 5.

Spring­dale has sim­i­lar re­quire­ments. The al­low­able time frame is the same, as is the ap­pli­ca­tion fee and in­sur­ance pol­icy, but the city al­lows fire­works sales in agri­cul­tural zones next to a high­way in ad­di­tion to com­mer­cial zones.

Rogers asks for a $1,000 ap­pli­ca­tion fee. Per­mit fees from all three cities pay for the fire mar­shal’s time to in­spect each tent. Rogers only al­lows fire­works stands in agri­cul­tural zones and 24-hour se­cu­rity is re­quired.

Ben­ton County fol­lows the state statute and re­quires a $100 ap­pli­ca­tion fee.

In Ben­tonville, only one ven­dor, Rain­bow Fire­works on South Wal­ton Boule­vard, op­er­ates within the city. That’s be­cause the tent set up shop be­fore the city’s or­di­nance ban­ning fire­works sales was adopted in 1983 and it was grand­fa­thered in, said Cur­tis Sharp, deputy fire chief. That ven­dor still has to have li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance, a per­mit from the city, a li­cense from the state and a fire in­spec­tion be­fore he opens, Sharp said.

“If they stop or they move, then they’re done and we’ll have zero,” Sharp said. “But, there’s a big process to go through.”

As of Thurs­day, Fayet­teville ap­proved 20 per­mits to sell fire­works in the city. Spring­dale ap­proved 24. Ben­ton County had 23 and Wash­ing­ton County had nine fire­works ven­dors op­er­at­ing, al­though a county-spe­cific per­mit is not re­quired, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials in those mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Fayet­teville has al­lowed fire­works sales since 2010, al­though the or­di­nance has changed back and forth dur­ing pre­vi­ous years. Spring­dale has al­lowed sales since 2003. Rogers started al­low­ing fire­works sales this year, but no ven­dors ap­plied, said Ben Cline, city spokesman.

“It is a pos­si­bil­ity but no one took us up on it this year,” Cline said.

Shun Turner, a Rogers res­i­dent, said he likes to go to a stand in Low­ell but this year joined his twin sis­ter, Shana, at the Fire­works City tent out­side Fayet­teville. The two usu­ally get fire­works last minute, as in go­ing to get them in be­tween grilling things on July 4, but wanted to have more time to spend with fam­ily on the hol­i­day. “We’re be­ing proac­tive I guess this year,” he said.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

Tessa Evans and sons Sladen Evans, 4, and Jordan Evans, 8, of Cen­ter­ton shop for fire­works Fri­day at the Cen­ter­ton Fra­ter­nal Or­der of Po­lice fire­works stand in Cen­ter­ton. In its sec­ond year, the stand raises money for the Fra­ter­nal Or­der of Po­lice to hold com­mu­nity events and sup­port of­fi­cers in the Cen­ter­ton Po­lice Depart­ment.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK

Jordan Over­ton (left) and Caleb Anitin, 7, both vol­un­teers with the Univer­sity of Arkansas Chi Al­pha Cam­pus Min­istries, stock fire­works Mon­day at the Chi Al­pha fire­works stand in the park­ing lot of Loko­mo­tion Fam­ily Fun Park in Fayet­teville.

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