It’s been six months since a fireworks-related fire destroyed a Snoqualmie Ridge home and there’s a chance the 4th of July may be a little quieter in Snoqualmie in coming years.
On Monday, January 12, 2015, the Snoqualmie City Council considered an amendment to the city’s Fireworks Ordinance.
The proposed ordinance amendment would change the type of consumer-grade fireworks that can be legally sold and discharged in the city – and ups the penalties attached to unlawful fireworks.
The January 12th council meeting yielded no answer [yet] to the big fireworks question. Some residents attended the meeting and addressed council members about the proposed ban on aerial (mortar) fireworks – many were opposed to it.
In the end, the council decided to send the proposed amendment back to the Public Safety Committee for a formal recommendation.
According to City Clerk, Jodi Warren,”Council moved to refer this back to committee and then bring to the full council for action on February 9th.”
Residents still wishing to comment on the proposed fireworks ordinance amendment can do so during public comment time at the January 26th and February 9th city council meetings (or by writing council members).
Snoqualmie City Council meetings start at 7PM in the council chambers at Snoqualmie City Hall.
No More Aerial Fireworks
If the amendment is approved by the city council, residents will no longer be able to discharge aerial (mortar) type fireworks, which are very common in the skies over Snoqualmie on the 4th of July. Instead, the amended ordinance would only allow for ground-effect, consumer-grade fireworks.
Fine for Banned Fireworks Increases
The amended ordinance would also greatly increase fines for residents who discharge banned fireworks. The fine for possessing unlawful fireworks would increase from $125 per offense to $250. The unlawful discharge of banned fireworks would come with a hefty $750 fine.
In the July 4th 2014 Snoqualmie Ridge fire, a home on Fairway Ave sustained more than $700,000 damage, injured a firefighter and threatened a neighboring home.
The City of Snoqualmie stated that police and fire incidents have been sporadic over the past few years, but showed an increase in 2014.
Follwing the fire, the City Council and Public Safety committed received multiple requests from residents to ban all fireworks within the city limits. Some residents described the 4th of July in Snoqualmie as sounding like “a war zone.”
According to a city Q & A about the new fireworks ordinance amendment, “The option of the proposed amendment to the fireworks ordinance was selected after careful consideration as it provided for the allowance for celebratory fireworks, a safer community, and an opportunity for groups to sell fireworks as fundraising events.”
If approved by the city council, the amended fireworks ordinance would apply to fireworks discharged only within the city limits of Snoqualmie and take effect one year from the date approved.
The Public Safety Committee also discussed a 4th of July public fireworks display, but currently there is no city budget for such a display. The committee suggested creating a July 4th Committee to fundraise to put on a fireworks show for residents.
Other area cities that ban fireworks include:
- Clyde Hill
- Des Moines
- Federal Way
- Lake Forest Park
- Yarrow Point
More information about the proposed Fireworks Ordinance amendment can be found on the City of Snoqualmie website.