Committee to discuss repealing fireworks ban

Ordinance would limit when they could be shot

Once again, the St. Charles Parish Legislative Committee will meet to discuss an ordinance that would allow both the sale and popping of fireworks in the parish.

The committee is scheduled to discuss an ordinance by Councilman Paul Hogan at their June 23 meeting that would allow fireworks, but would restrict who could buy them and at what times they were allowed to be popped.

According to the ordinance, fireworks could be shot from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. from June 27 until July 3, from 9 a.m. until midnight on July 4, and from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on July 5. In December, fireworks could be popped from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Dec. 22 until Dec. 30, from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Dec. 31, and from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Jan. 1.

Also, fireworks could only be purchased by those 18 years and older, and a person must be at least 1,000 feet away from any church, school, gas station, hospital or industrial facility to explode or ignite them.

As for those who want to sell fireworks in the parish, the ordinance would allow only four vendors on the West Bank and four on the East Bank. Each vendor would have to pay a $3,000 licensing fee and could only operate on land that they owned. More than eight vendors may apply for a license, but the parish’s Planning and Zoning Department would randomly draw each applicant and then give them a ranking number.

If chosen, the applicant would have two weeks to pay the licensing fee.

Fireworks were banned in St. Charles Parish in a 1992 ordinance, largely because of the danger they presented to nearby industry. However, Hogan says that the ban causes the parish to miss out on much-needed revenue.

Especially since he says residents are already using them.
“Fireworks are being bought outside of the parish and used inside the parish,” he said.

Hogan said that all the money the parish made from the licensing fees, which would be $24,000 according to his ordinance, would be earmarked for the Parks and Recreation Department.

The legalizing of fireworks last came up in January. At the time, Maj. Sam Zinna, representing the Sheriff’s Office, said that police do get a lot of noise complaints, but that sometimes officers are too busy with more serious matters to enforce the fireworks ban – especially on New Year’s Eve.

Zinna also said that 90 to 95 percent of the complaints the Sheriff’s Office receives come from anonymous callers, which means that the officers have to catch someone in the act of shooting fireworks because they have no witnesses to rely on.


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