Township drafts law to limit fireworks
They would not be allowed after 10 p.m. under the proposal
LIMERICK » Township supervisors are planning a public hearing on a law that would restrict the use of fireworks.
As drafted, the Limerick ordinance creates two classes of fireworks: “consumer fireworks,” which are available to all commercially, and “display fireworks,” which are more powerful and are the kind generally only set off by professionals.
The more powerful variety, like those typically shot off at Waltz Golf Farm on July 4th, would require a township permit which must be obtained 15 days be
fore the event; requires a $50,000 insurance bond and must comply with the various safety conditions laid out by the township fire marshal, under the proposed ordinance.
A person seeking to use the less powerful consumer fireworks within the bounds of the proposed ordinance must be at least 18 years old; have the permission of the property owner on which they are being set off, and not be under the influence of alcohol.
Other restrictions include a prohibition against setting off fireworks more than once a week by a particular person, or at a particular property; throwing them from or at a motor vehicle, building or at a person; setting them off within 200 feet of a structure and any time after 10 p.m.
The only exceptions to this last rule are overnight on July Fourth and over New Year’s Eve unto New Year’s Day. In both cases, fireworks would not be permitted after 12:30 a.m.
The fine for violating the proposed ordinance, for either type of firework, has been set at $1,000.
Although the ordinance and public hearing have not yet been officially advertised — the vote to authorize the advertisement was taken at the Feb. 2 meeting — Limerick Township Manager Dan Kerr indicated he believes is likely to be scheduled for March 1 meeting. Limerick, which heard complaints from several residents about late-night fireworks last year, is not alone in moving to enact these restrictions.
Ever since the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted Act 42 in 2017 to loosen fireworks restrictions allowing residents to purchase and set off “Class C” or “consumer-grade” fireworks previously only available out of state, there has been a rising tide of fireworks being set off at all times of the day or night throughout the commonwealth. In December, Pottstown Borough Council unanimously adopted a local ordinance that does largely what the Limerick ordinance seeks to do.
Both mirror statewide legislation being supported by several legislators including state Sen. Mario M. Scavello, R-40th District, who represents portions of Monroe and Northampton counties, and Lycoming County state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-23rd Dist.
Yaw actually authored the original change making it easier to buy more powerful fireworks, but, is now proposing amendments to limit the use of the more powerful fireworks.
There is also another bill, House Bill 988, which would repeal Act 43 and restore previous restrictions that only allowed the sale of “novelty fireworks,” such as sparklers and spinners, in the state, according to WGAL TV. That bill’s prime sponsor is Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-22nd Dist., who represents part of Lehigh County.