CROWN POINT | The Ordinance Committee discovered Wednesday that Indiana state law governing fireworks blocks the city’s attempt to restrict the use of these explosive devices in residential areas between June 29 and July 9.
City Councilman Robert Clemmons, R-2nd, sought to tighten Crown Point’s 2007 ordinance on regulating consumer fireworks at the meeting held at City Hall.
However, Rich Wolter, commission attorney, said the state statute specifically prohibits municipalities from limiting the use of consumer fireworks during that time period.
The city’s 2007 ordinance mirrors the new state statute. It says fireworks can be set off between the hours of 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset on June 29 through July 3 and from July 5 through July 9. On July 4, individuals are allowed to ignite fireworks between 10 a.m. and midnight. Those same hours apply to Dec. 31 through Jan. 1.
The state law does permit cities and towns to allow fireworks before and after those 10 days.
“Crown Point has the most restrictions allowed,” Wolter said.
Fireworks continue to be ignited throughout the city and complaints from Crown Point residents have increased this year, according to Police Chief Pete Land.
In 2010, there were 59 calls to police for fireworks set off before June 29 and after July 9. In 2011 that number dropped to 50, but increased to 63 this year.
“There’s some pretty heavy artillery out there,” said Clemmons. “It rattles my windows. And they’re going off at 1 a.m.”
Indiana permits the use of such devices as missiles, mortars, mines and shells. The amount of gunpowder allowed in fireworks can range from 50 mg in a ground device such as an M-80 to 150 mg in an aerial firework.
“The only place this can change is in Indianapolis,” Wolter said.