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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

July 4 fireworks period may get shortened

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The number of days Glendive residents can shoot off fireworks this Fourth of July may be shortened.

The Glendive City Council’s Ordinance Committee visited the issue during their meeting Monday. After discussion, the committee decided to raise the matter at the next city council meeting with the suggestion that the city allow fireworks on July 3-5.

Last year, the city council allowed fireworks for six days, from July 1-6.

Resident Jerry Geiger asked the committee members to consider reducing the time period.

“I think it’s time to reduce this period of six days,” Geiger said. “It’s just gotten out of hand.”

Geiger, who owns Pet Projects, claimed the length of time fireworks were allowed last year was especially hard on residents’ pets.

“It’s six days of hell for your pets,” he said.

Geiger also said the daily cutoff time for fireworks last year was “ridiculous.” Last year, the city allowed fireworks to be shot until 11 p.m. on days other than the Fourth, and until 12:01 a.m. on July 5.

Police Chief Ty Ulrich noted that there were complaints last year about the late ending time.

“We received quite a few complaints on how late they go,” Ulrich said.

Committee members noted that the reason for the late end time was daylight savings time, since by mid-summer, it does not get dark until 10 p.m. The committee made no recommendation on cutting back the number of hours fireworks are allowed.

Mayor Jerry Jimison asked the committee to consider the issue now rather than wait until later in the summer in order to give fireworks vendors ample notice of what this year’s regulations would be. 

Jimison noted that last year, the city council didn’t make a decision until “probably a little too close to the deadline,” which negatively affected fireworks vendors, most of whom he noted were non-profit organizations.

“I think three out of four (of the fireworks vendors) were civic organizations trying to raise money for their club or church or whatever,” Jimison said.

The mayor also said that Fire Chief George Lane has the authority to issue an emergency ban on fireworks if conditions are “too combustible” when the July 4 holiday rolls around.

Councilman Matt Hull noted that the city council has consistently struggled to find the best balance to meet the interests of fireworks vendors, fireworks enthusiasts and residents who don’t care for the noise.

“I’ve been on the council for four years and I swear we change it every year,” Hull said. “No one is always happy.”

In other business, the Ordinance Committee addressed an issue first raised by Lane about semi trucks parking on the street in residential areas of Sunrise Subdivision.

“Chief Lane’s complaint was that these trucks, especially during the winter, were parking along residential areas and letting their trucks run all night,” Jimison said.

He said trucks formerly parked closer to the hotels, but since Public Works put up signs warning them not to do so, trucks had taken to parking along residential sections of Wyoming Avenue.

Tanker trucks are of particular concern because of the potential hazard they pose.

Jimison and Lane asked the Ordinance Committee to study the issue to see if any changes needed to be made to city code to address the matter. 

The issue of trucks hauling flammable or hazardous materials parking in residential areas is addressed in the city’s fire code, but with no mention of penalty.

However, committee members pointed to a city ordinance governing “parking in violation of duly erected signs,” and suggested that the appropriate way to deal with the matter was to erect signage in the area and emphasize police enforcement of the posted signs.

Besides police enforcement, Ulrich said he believed Lane had the “right to enforce fire code also” if trucks were discovered parked in the area. 

Committee members decided against recommending any changes to city code.

“I don’t know that adding anything to the city code is necessary,” Hull said. “It does appear to me it is addressed. Maybe we need a way to add some teeth to the signs.”

 Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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