Greenwood votes to restrict fireworks
Greenwood residents Tuesday voted 15-7 to restrict the use of consumer fireworks to seven days a year.
The ordinance proposal comes in response to citizen complaints about the use of fireworks in town, especially around lakes and ponds.
The town joins another area town, Andover, in passing an ordinance regarding the use of consumer fireworks. In a vote at its last annual town meeting, Andover banned use entirely.
The state legalized consumer fireworks beginning this year, but also allowed for municipalities to ban or restrict them within their borders.
By state law, consumer fireworks are currently allowed generally between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., but they may be also used between 9 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. on July 4, Dec. 31, and the weekends immediately before and after July 4 and Dec. 31.
The Greenwood ordinance, which takes effect immediately, restricts use to the following days: July 3 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; July 4 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. the following day; July 5 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; the Saturday and Sunday immediately before Labor Day Monday, but not Labor Day Monday itself, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m.; Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. the following day; and Jan. 1, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In a brief discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, resident Reggie Westleigh said he believed the use of fireworks this summer was primarily a result of the novelty of the new law.
And, he said, “Most people don’t have money to blow on fireworks. The two weeks I heard them most were the two weeks I spent on North Pond, and they were all on the Woodstock side. I don’t know any way we can control that.”
But Betsey Foster, who favored the ordinance, said she had heard fireworks recently on Round Pond.
In response to a question about enforcement, Selectman Amy Chapman said the town would not hire anyone for that purpose.
The Oxford County Sheriff’s Department does not enforce town ordinances.
Selectman Arnie Jordan said passing the ordinance would at least send a message to state officials that many towns object to the new law.
He also noted that several candidates for the state legislature, including some incumbents, attended a recent meeting of the Oxford County Municipal Officers Association. He said they were asked how many would be willing to revisit the fireworks law.
“They all put up their hands,” he said.
Jordan said he did not think the law would be repealed, but he hoped legislators might further restrict fireworks use.
“I’m all for celebrating our Independence, but it doesn’t have to be with fireworks 365 days a year,” said Jordan.
A total of 52 towns or cities in Maine have passed ordinances banning or restricting consumer fireworks, according to information from the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office.