Camas City Council implements changes to fireworks regulations

New rules won't go into effect until next year

Fourth of July holiday

Fireworks can be discharged and sold July 1 to July 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and July 4 from 9 a.m. to midnight.

On July 5, only sales are allowed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Discharge is prohibited.

New Year's holiday

Fireworks can be discharged from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan. 1, and sold from Dec. 27 to 31, from noon to 11 p.m., each day.

Fourth of July holiday

Fireworks can be discharged and sold July 1 to July 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and July 4 from 9 a.m. to midnight.

On July 5, only sales are allowed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Discharge is prohibited.

New Year’s holiday

Fireworks can be discharged from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan. 1, and sold from Dec. 27 to 31, from noon to 11 p.m., each day.

The Camas City Council has reduced the number of days fireworks are allowed to be sold and discharged within city limits each calendar year.

Last night, the council voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance that makes the legal use and sale period run from July 1 to July 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and July 4 from 9 a.m. to midnight. In addition, sales only will be allowed on July 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Currently, for the Fourth of July holiday season, sales and use are allowed from June 28 to July 5.

Under the ordinance approved yesterday, for the New Year’s holiday legal use days and times would be unchanged from current rules. Fireworks can be discharged from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. Jan. 1, and sold from Dec. 27 to 31, from noon to 11 p.m., each day.

The original proposed ordinance presented during last night’s meeting did not include the July 5 provision to allow fireworks sales, but no use. Councilman Scott Higgins suggested the modification, saying it was a compromise that would allow vendors, many of which support non-profit groups in the community, to try to move inventory, but still takes into account concerns of residents who didn’t see the need for discharging fireworks after the official holiday.

“It was definitely my good faith effort to try to find a compromise with this,” Higgins said.

Council members Linda Dietzman, Greg Anderson, Melissa Smith and Tim Hazen agreed, and all five voted unanimously to approve the modified ordinance. Councilmen Steve Hogan and Don Chaney had excused absences from the meeting.

The changes approved last night are not effective until one year from the date of adoption, so the new rules will not apply until July 1, 2012.

Fire Marshall Randy Miller said vendors selling fireworks during the upcoming 2011 Fourth of July holiday season will be asked to help educate customers about the changes.

“Even though it will not be enforced [this year,] we will be educating them for the coming year,” he said.

Violation of fireworks laws, a misdemeanor, can result in a fine of up to $500 and/or jail time of up to 30 days, according to the ordinance.Although concern about misuse of fireworks has been brought to the attention of the City Council by citizens several times in the past, serious discussions about changing the city’s regulations began in August 2010 after a Camas woman described her a suspicion that her horse’s death in July occurred as a result of becoming spooked after hearing some loud fireworks. The horse later had to be put down.

Since that time, City Council members discussed the issue at its workshops, and a public hearing was held March 7.

In other City Council news:

Fee instituted to participate in offender work crew

Camas City Council last night approved the implementation of a $20 fee to men and women who elect to serve all or a portion of their sentence working on projects around the community through work crew, instead of behind bars in jail. The payment is intended to serve as an incentive for participants to complete their sentence.

Those who demonstrate an inability to pay the fee would be able to add an extra day to their work crew sentence.

Camas-Washougal was one of the only local jurisdictions that does not charge offenders to participate on the work crew, Clark and Cowlitz counties charge $40, while Skamania County and the city of Battle Ground each charge $25.

Only men and women convicted of misdemeanor crimes in Camas-Washougal are eligible to participate in the local work crew.

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