The Lincoln City council has been busy reviewing ordinances that would affect the use and sale of fireworks within the city. The first ordinance was passed by a 5-2 vote on the first reading that would prohibit the use of fireworks on all city property, parks, open spaces, streets and rights of way. It would also increase the penalties of use of fireworks within city space. Because this did not pass unanimously on the reading first meeting will be brought back again this Monday May 9th for a second reading and possible adoption.
The council has been discussing this issue for over a month now and has received many comments both for and against the ordinances from the public. At the April 25th meeting the council heard from those who were against the fireworks ban who said the sale of fireworks from stands generates funds for non-profits helping to send underprivileged kids to camp.
There was also concern that it would affect visitors coming to the coast as they may go somewhere else and this would have a big impact on tourism and potentially hurt businesses. It was also brought up that this was very last minute and the council maybe consider it for next year instead. The Lincoln City Police Chief has told the council that enforcement of the ordinance would be very difficult with their resources already stretched thin on the holiday weekend.
Those in favor of the ban stated they are afraid if we have a drought this summer that even legal fireworks could cause a fire. There was also testimony given regarding the mess and loud noises affecting animals. Councilor Mark stated "My concern for moving this forward isn't for fear of a wildfire from a spinning sparkler. My concern is the warzone that is created every July when people come from outside the city and feel they can do whatever they please and light off far more dangerous illegal fireworks on the beaches, littering the ocean, scaring and harming the animals." Mark added "I am in favor of the ordinances to send the message that people can't come to Lincoln City and do what they want and we will clean up the mess."
The city attorney stated that the fine for having fireworks on city property would be $500.
Councilor Hoagland commented that as it stands the fine for having a firework in the city is more than a fine for having methamphetamine. This ban would not prohibit any fireworks displays that are permitted by the State Fire Marshal. The city attorney also mentioned that any ordinance adopted by the city council can be refuted by the public by collecting signatures and can be brought to a vote of the people.
He also stated that the city can also declare an emergency if there are drought conditions this July, and the city can do an immediate ban on the sale or use of fireworks. The ordinance to ban the sale of fireworks was approved by the council by a 5-2 vote and would become effective July 7th 2022. With this ordinance passing the sale of legal fireworks will be available this year.