845 S Hanover St
Pottstown, Pa 19465

Board of Supervisors Authorize Advertisement for Chapter 185 Fireworks Ordinance Amendment

[07-25-2023] – The Board of Supervisors, at its meeting on July 10th, 2023, has taken a significant step in enhancing public safety by authorizing the advertisement for the Chapter 185 Fireworks Ordinance amendment. Township Manager Erica Batdorf expressed that this Ordinance empowers the Township to enforce stricter state laws regarding the use of consumer fireworks versus display fireworks. The amendments to Chapter 185 Fireworks Ordinance include several important changes that will help protect residents and property within the Township. Notably, the updated Ordinance prohibits the use of consumer fireworks within 150 feet from buildings or vehicles, ensuring a safe distance for the enjoyment of fireworks while minimizing potential risks. Moreover, the Fire Marshal and Police Department are now granted the authority to issue violations for fireworks-related offenses, ranging from summary to felony offenses. This will enable law enforcement to respond swiftly and appropriately to violations, discouraging reckless behavior and enhancing safety measures. Fire Marshal Ron Comtois emphasized that firework usage within the Township will be confined to designated hours of 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., with exceptions on specific holidays. Additionally, strict restrictions are in place to prohibit the use of fireworks on public land, public streets, parks, or private property without written permission. These measures align with state laws, further ensuring consistency and safety across the Township. During the meeting, Chairman Jim Marks inquired about the enforcement of the amended Ordinance. Fire Marshal Comtois responded, highlighting the increased penalties for offenses, starting at $500 for the first violation. He also clarified that setting off display fireworks by consumers is now classified as a felony, carrying significant fines and potential jail time. Chief Matt Deichert of the North Coventry Police Department explained that their usual approach is to give a warning to offenders, leading to the voluntary cessation of fireworks displays. If non-compliance persists, the Police Department will proceed with issuing citations to ensure compliance with the Ordinance. Supervisor Bill Soumis raised a question about the need for the Township to adopt the Ordinance when the relevant rulings are already governed by state law. Solicitor Eric Brown addressed this concern, explaining that the Ordinance empowers local authorities to enforce the state laws effectively, tailoring the enforcement to the specific needs of the Township. Supervisor Carrie Hipple motioned to authorize the advertisement of the Chapter 185 Fireworks Ordinance amendment, demonstrating the Board’s commitment to promoting public safety and responsible fireworks use within the community. Supervisor Bill Soumis seconded the motion, and it was unanimously carried. This proactive step taken by the Board of Supervisors underlines the Township’s dedication to safeguarding its residents and properties while upholding the cherished tradition of fireworks celebrations. By aligning local regulations with state laws, the Township seeks to create a safe and enjoyable environment for all during festive occasions.