The new city of Ashland fireworks ordinance has not deterred some from setting off fireworks in the municipality after hours, city officials said.
In fact, city leaders said Ashland citizens have already raised concerns about others who aren’t following the newly established fireworks ordinance. City Commissioner Pat Steen said she’s received several complaints about ordinance violations in communications received through social media. The chief complaint is fireworks are being set off outside designated days and times.
“There are so many people who are affected by this noise,” said Steen. “There are people with anxiety, health problems and PTSD who suffer from hearing these fireworks. Excessive fireworks impact a lot of people in a lot of ways.”
The push for an ordinance took off in November of last year. After it launched, the city discerned fireworks could only be discharged or used between the hours of noon and 11 p.m. from June 30 through July 4, on December 31 and any day which Paul G. Blazer High School football team plays a game at Putnam Stadium.
Outside of the approved dates, it would be unlawful to set off fireworks without an approved permit by the city fire chief. There will be no fee for a permit. Any person convicted of violating the ordinance would be guilty of a violation set out by state regulations and result in a $250 fine.
Ashland police, meanwhile, said they are responding to matters as quickly as they can.
“There are other calls that take a higher priority, but we have officers looking between calls and during their patrol,” said Police Chief Todd Kelley.
Kelley did not have an exact number of complaints called in. All the calls are tracked through an external system, and he is waiting until after the holiday to get an official number.
Steen said she had people come to her stating they would make a complaint that someone had set off fireworks outside of the designated time, and the offenders would temporarily stop until after the police left the scene and they would then resume with the fireworks.
Ashland Fire Chief Greg Ray, meanwhile, urged those using fireworks to stay a safe distance away from the fireworks when they are lit and to keep them away from any structures.
“Leave it in the hands of adults and follow the ordinance dates and times,” said Ray.
Steen added there were are a lot of beautiful firework displays that happen throughout the city, and she wished people would take advantage of those instead of setting off fireworks in neighborhoods.
“We make these rules for a reason. Not everyone likes fireworks,” said Steen.