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First reading of less restrictive fireworks ordinance passes in Danville

After months of discussions and public comments, Danville City Commission passed a first reading of a new fireworks ordinance Monday that leaves out a lot of the restrictions that were originally proposed.

“The new draft is drastically different from the first draft as it does not prohibit the sale of fireworks,” said Stephen Dexter, Danville city attorney. “What we heard from the commission was to limit the time and hours that fireworks would be appropriate in the corporate limits of the city.” 

Dexter said based on input from commissioners, he removed language that would have banned the sale and use of most fireworks within the city limits. 

Under the new version, people would be allowed to use fireworks only on specific dates — Dec. 31, Jan. 1, July 3-5 and Memorial Day — between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Citizens have voiced concerns at previous city commission meetings about the use of fireworks at high school football games and at other events where fireworks are used at high schools or Centre College. 

When the fireworks draft was discussed at the last City Commission meeting, commissioners said they were not as concerned about changing the process for using fireworks at those events; their main concern was use of fireworks in residential neighborhoods.

The new fireworks ordinance would still require high schools and organizations such as Centre College to go through the same permitting process as before in order to shoot off fireworks, but they will now be under regulations from the noise ordinance as well, Dexter said. 

Those who violate the fireworks ordinance would be be fined $250 for the first offense; $500 for the second offense in a year; and $1,000 for a third and each subsequent offense in a year.

The city commission must approve a second reading of the proposed ordinance before it becomes law.