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Citizens of Siloam Springs may be able to welcome in the new year by shooting off fireworks if a proposal by the Siloam Springs Fire Department to amend the city's fireworks ordinance is approved.

The proposal submitted by Fire Chief Jeremy Criner and City Attorney Jay Williams would allow fireworks to be discharged from noon to midnight July 1 through July 4 and from noon until 1 a.m. Dec. 31 through Jan. 1. This is a change from the current ordinance which does not allow fireworks to be discharged inside city limits.

Criner, who presented the proposal at Tuesday's city board meeting, called for no fireworks to be discharged from city property unless it was a city sponsored display. He also stated that only state-legal fireworks would be allowed to be discharged.

Fireworks attached to a stick and bottle rockets are still prohibited under this proposal because fireworks on a stick may fall over and damage someone else's property. According to Fire Marshall Dustin Kendall, not all aerial fireworks are off limits. Fireworks that are placed in tubes may be discharged during the approved days.

Criner also proposed limiting where fireworks could be discharged in the city. The examples that he cited were no closer than 1,000 feet from a hospital, nursing home or animal boarding shelter, and no closer than 300 feet from a gas station, propane storage facility or fireworks stand.

Criner added that if there is a weather related issue, such as a burn ban, during the Fourth of July dates, discharging fireworks would be suspended and an alternate date to shoot off fireworks would be chosen.

The proposal does allow for dates outside of the proposed time frame as long as it is approved by the city administrator or the fire chief, Criner said. If a person, group, organization wants to discharge fireworks on alternate days they would be required to obtain a special permit from the city, which costs $25. Public displays would require the same permit, however, any public entity will have to go through the state fire marshal for approval.

The proposal would allow for fireworks to be sold from July 28 through July 5 and Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Fireworks dealers are required to obtain a sellers permit from the city. The permit would cost $500 and would only be a temporary permit to operate during that particular season.

Licensed dealers would also be required to operate a stand such as a tent-based structure and could not be sold out of a vehicle or parked car, Criner said. Additionally those selling fireworks would be required to have a fire extinguisher on hand, ensure that their grass is mowed and to keep trash away from the fireworks. Employees selling fireworks would be required to be 21 or older, and no fireworks would be allowed to be sold to anyone under the age of 16.

Criner said that he based his proposal around the ordinances in other cities in Northwest Arkansas.

The proposal was met with mixed feelings from the board. The most vocal critic was Director Marla Sappington who felt that the time frame for selling fireworks prevented dealers from making money.

City Administrator Phillip Patterson said that Criner may want to consider allowing a certain number of days to sell and discharge fireworks instead of the fixed dates that are in the proposal. Criner said he is willing to accommodate the request if it is the pleasure of the board.

The fire chief said that he should have the proposed ordinance ready for the board for the meeting on Nov. 5.

Actions taken by the board include:

• Approval of the 2019 destruction affidavit to allow the shredding of stale documents. Director Bob Coleman made a motion to approve, and Director Carol Smiley seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

• Approval of a water booster station upgrade on Airport Road to allow the airport booster station's communications, electrical and mechanical components to be upgraded. Smiley made a motion to approve, Coleman seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

• Approval of a budget amendment to reallocate funding designated for the purchase of one tractor to the purchase of two mid-mount mowers. Director Brad Burns made a motion to approve, Smiley seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

• Ordinance 19-24 concerning the annexation of 39.963 acres at 3901 E. Kenwood St. to the city of Siloam Springs was read for the second time. Smiley made the motion to place the ordinance on a third reading and Director Reid Carroll seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

• Ordinance 19-25 concerning amending of zoning code for drive-through aisles was read for the second time. A motion was made by Smiley to place the ordinance on a third reading. Coleman seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

• Resolution 34-19 signatory authorization for funding of water treatment plant improvements. A motion was made by Smiley to approve resolution. Coleman seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

General News on 10/20/2019

Print Headline: City Board discusses fireworks proposal

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