Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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East Greenville May Ban Fireworks
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2018-07-11

            A state law approved in October allows Pennsylvania residents access to previously prohibited fireworks. However, residents of East Greenville could be barred from setting them off in the future.

            Last week, Borough Council discussed limiting the use of fireworks in the municipality. Member Alison Palmer proposed increasing the fine for violating the new law. She also recommended not allowing any fireworks in the borough. Andrew Skelton, chief of the Borough of East Greenville Police Department, agreed.

            "People are not respecting their neighbors," Skelton said during the July 2 public meeting. "We have to create an ordinance to compel people to be respectful."

            Two officers patrolling the borough on July 4 responded to five noise complaints, according to the chief. He wrote in an email the next day that they were dispersed evenly around the municipality.

            Pennsburg Borough does not have an ordinance that specifically prohibits the use of fireworks in the municipality, according to an email from Anthony Campbell, of Campbell Code Services, LLC, of Pottstown. It states that all state rules and regulations do apply. 

            House Bill 542, signed into law last fall by Gov. Tom Wolf, allows consumers access to "consumer-grade" fireworks that include firecrackers, Roman Candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material, according to information posted on the Pennsylvania State Police's website.

            The new law, which repeals the Fireworks Act of 1939, states that fireworks cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, that they cannot be discharged from or within a motor vehicle or a building or toward a motor vehicle or a building.

            Initially, Palmer proposed increasing the fine for violating the Borough's sound ordinance to $250, an increase over the current amount of $100 prescribed by the new law. She also suggested the Borough borrow language from an ordinance approved by Lancaster City, which approved a ban on consumer-grade fireworks in June, according to a story posted at lancasteronline.com.

            President Angie Fegely expressed her support. Fegely explained that a neighbor who lives between Jefferson and Cherry Streets "feels the need" to set off fireworks every morning at 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. and any time after midnight.

            "We need to do something," Fegely said during the meeting.

            The sounds created by the fireworks are not covered by the borough's noise ordinance, according to Manager Jim Fry.

            Skelton suggested adding a subsection to the municipality's current noise ordinance. He stated during the meeting that very few residences in the Borough qualify to allow the legal discharge of fireworks.

            Solicitor Michael Peters told the members he would craft language that addressed the increased penalty as well time restrictions, and that it would be available for their consideration at the July 16 public meeting.


 

 

 

 

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