FIREWORKS PHOTO

The Portland City Council is looking at altering the time periods that fireworks sales are permitted in the city.

Members of the Portland City Council discussed potential changes to the ordinances governing sales of fireworks during their Aug. 17 meeting.

“I know all of us received quite a few emails before the Fourth of July regarding how long we were permitting fireworks to be shot,” Alderwoman Megann Thompson told her fellow commissioners. “We were looking at updating our code to follow the TCA (Tennessee Code Annotated) as far as the sales of fireworks.”

Currently, the Portland city code permits the selling of fireworks from June 20 until July 5 and from Dec. 10 till Jan. 2. Those changes were made by the Portland City Council in 2006. The Portland code also requires a $1,200 fee for a firework tent permit.

Thompson said that a number of constituents had approached her about limiting the number of days that fireworks sales could take place. She said limiting sales to July 1-5 made more sense.

“It would be a compromise to still give multiple days (for sales) but also limit it more to the days leading up to the holiday we’re celebrating,” Thompson said.

Commissioners have previously discussed changing the start of the first window to June 25.

“The biggest problem I see with regulating it, listening to the scanner every day, is no matter what you tell people, they’re going to shoot (fireworks),” said Alderman Thomas Dillard. “I’d be afraid to guess how many calls (the police) get on fireworks.”

Alderman Jody McDowell noted that there already is a noise ordinance in place, but Mayor Mike Callis called it “antiquated” in some aspects and said it could be updated if the council wished.

Callis said that the council could look at putting together updated regulations on sales and noise and vote on it at a future date.

“We’ll take a look at some language … in the municipal code and then give you time to make the tweaks you want,” Callis said. “This is a good opportunity to clean some things up.”

Thompson added, “I love all the fireworks, but I also don’t have someone next door to me shooting for 10 days straight.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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