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Middletown looks at limiting hours for fireworks

Posted 10/16/19

Middletown Borough Council has approved for advertisement a proposed ordinance limiting the hours when fireworks can be set off.

Fireworks would be prohibited between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., except on …

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Middletown looks at limiting hours for fireworks

Posted

Middletown Borough Council has approved for advertisement a proposed ordinance limiting the hours when fireworks can be set off.

Fireworks would be prohibited between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., except on New Year’s Day, when fireworks could be set off between midnight and 12:30 a.m., according to the proposed ordinance posted on the home page of the borough website.

Council plans to consider final passage of the proposed ordinance during its Nov. 6 meeting.

The restriction would not apply to large “display fireworks” such as those professionals set off each year for Middletown’s annual Labor Day fireworks.

The new limits would also not apply to what the borough calls “ground and hand-held sparkling devices,” “novelties” or “toy caps.”

Otherwise, the new law includes the same restrictions that are in Act 43, the state law covering fireworks that has been in place since late 2017.

Among those restrictions:

• Fireworks cannot be set off on public or private property without express permission of the property owner.

• Fireworks, including sparkling devices, cannot be discharged from or within a motor vehicle or building.

• Fireworks, including sparkling devices, cannot be discharged into or at a motor vehicle or building, or at another person.

• Fireworks, including sparkling devices, cannot be set off while the user is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.

• Fireworks cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure.

Anyone violating the proposed ordinance would be subject to a fine of up to $100.

The proposed ordinance was drawn up at the urging of Council President Angela Lloyd, who had complained of fireworks going off late at night in the Oak Hill neighborhood where she lives.

Councilor Jenny Miller also mentioned the frequency of fireworks going off in the area of West Water Street where she resides.

Middletown police receive “a large amount of complaints” regarding fireworks, Detective Sgt. Gary Rux told the Press & Journal.

The department does not have specific numbers to provide regarding fireworks, as these calls are often dispatched as shots fired, a noise complaint, or some other type of disturbance, Rux said.

“In some cases the officers are unable to determine the origin” as the fireworks may or may not have been set off in the borough, Rux said, or whomever was setting off the fireworks might no longer be doing so when police arrive.

Often the person making the complaint is not sure who is setting off the fireworks, or where, Rux said.

“When the officer does encounter an actor setting (off) fireworks, the incident is handled based on the officer’s observations,” he said.