Government

Rural fireworks limits in Linn County voted down by supervisors

Board could revisit issue, focus on specific problem areas

FILE PHOTO: Austin Hicks of Cedar Rapids shops for fireworks at a Phantom Fireworks tent in Marion on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. Tent managers say that sales have been down, but still strong, this year, and that there has been confusion about new city ordinances restricting firework usage. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
FILE PHOTO: Austin Hicks of Cedar Rapids shops for fireworks at a Phantom Fireworks tent in Marion on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. Tent managers say that sales have been down, but still strong, this year, and that there has been confusion about new city ordinances restricting firework usage. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A resolution to restrict the use of fireworks to the Fourth of July in unincorporated Linn County failed at Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The county’s rules currently align with the state’s regulations, which allow for the use of fireworks from June 1 through July 8 and again Dec. 10 through Jan. 3 during certain hours of the day. The resolution, which would have restricted the use of fireworks to only 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4, failed with Supervisors Stacey Walker and Brent Oleson voting against and Supervisor Ben Rogers voting in favor.

Oleson, whose district includes most of rural Linn County, said he has yet to hear a request from residents to create more restrictions on the law.

“I think this gives us the greatest flexibility moving forward, and I would prefer to keep it the way it is,” Oleson said during the meeting.

The greatest concern is for those unincorporated areas adjacent to the city limits or are more populated. Walker said the county could later revisit the issue and create more restrictive rules in defined areas.

“If we find that a certain area within the county is particularly disturbed by the use of fireworks, we could pass a resolution that is specific to that area,” Walker said.

Rogers said he put forth the resolution with the hopes of being proactive rather than reactive to any issues that may come up. He also wanted to bring county rules more in line with surrounding cities’ restrictions.

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“If we go in to carve out (specific areas) later, people have already purchased fireworks. They’ve already have been lighting them off. To then go and create a resolution and think that they’re going to abide by it, I think, is a lofty assumption,” Rogers said.

• Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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