Fireworks discharge ban to begin in 2018 within Sequim city limits

By Matthew Nash

Olympic Peninsula News Group

SEQUIM — The Sequim City Council has officially banned discharging fireworks.

Council members voted unanimously 7-0 Monday to approve the ban recommended in an advisory vote.

The prohibition on the discharge of consumer fireworks will begin in July 2018.

The newly approved city ordinance follows an advisory vote by city residents in the Nov. 8 general election where 2,633 residents, or 65.6 percent, favored a ban, while 1,379 residents, or 34.4 percent, opposed it. All six precincts within the city limits voted for the ban.

“It passed by two-thirds majority, so we should approve this,” Deputy Mayor Ted Miller said.

The ban makes it illegal to shoot fireworks within the city limits starting in the summer of 2018, but public displays and consumer fireworks sales will be allowed.

Discharging legal fireworks will be allowed within the city limits in the summer of 2017 from June 28 to July 5 when up to four licensed retailers set up booths in designated areas. Fireworks sales will continue the same dates in 2018.

Residents found illegally shooting fireworks in 2018 could face a gross misdemeanor fine up to $5,000 or up to 364 days in jail.

City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said city staff will work in 2017 to educate the public to “the greatest extent possible” on the ban.

City council members agreed July 25 to place the advisory vote on the ballot after spending a few sessions speaking about it over previous months. Sequim city staff advised council members to completely ban sales, too, following other cities’ examples, but the choice was made to allow booths, run by nonprofits, to continue.

Miller said previously that most of the city’s fireworks sales come from residents outside the city and he didn’t see a reason to stop that.

Proponents of the ban said in public testimony and in the voters pamphlet that fireworks are dangerous and disturbing in densely populated areas such as Sequim.

Pastor Jonathan Simonson with Sequim Valley Foursquare sells fireworks annually and said he’s disappointed with the turnout but plans to advise customers of the ban by handing out maps of city and Clallam County boundaries.

City staff recommended in July the city council investigate financing a public fireworks display if a ban were put into effect. Nelson-Gross said the city would need to budget about $25,000 for a 20-minute show.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

More in News

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Communications officer Ian Harrington oversees a bank of computer screens at the Peninsula Communications emergency dispatch center on Wednesday in Port Angeles.
The hidden first responders

911 dispatch center struggles with employment crisis

Port Townsend Council talks to city seat hopefuls

Interviews four candidates for appointment

Christopher Urquia
Port Angeles Food Bank to go solar with state grant

Takes steps towards sustainable energy

Two vehicles totaled, two transported to hospital

Two individuals were transported to the hospital after a two-car… Continue reading

A large brush fire that charred a vacant lot near 13th and K streets on the west side of Port Angeles on Monday underscores the current level of fire danger. (KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS)
Clallam County Fire Marshal upgrades burn ban

The Clallam County Fire Marshal has upgraded fire restrictions… Continue reading

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
A canoe from Ahousaht First nations of western Vancouver Island is hauled ashore by volunteers on Tuesday on Lower Elwha Clalllam land near the mouth of the Elwha River west of Port Angeles.
Power Paddlers bound for Puyallup

A canoe from Ahousaht First Nations of western Vancouver Island is hauled… Continue reading

Two banned from Port Angeles senior center

Outside food policy at center of controversy

Indigent defense caseloads may decrease

Local stakeholders express opposed perspectives on potential implications

Mike Chapman
State senate candidates debate policy differences

Chapman, Kelbon vie for 24th District

Marine sanctuary plans birthday festivities

The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is inviting the… Continue reading

Construction night crews plan work on Highways 19 and 104

Work crews will be completing the construction of the… Continue reading