The Kodiak Island Borough is attempting to strike out the spark of any summer-long fireworks parties, after the assembly voted Thursday to restrict the sale and discharge of fireworks throughout the borough to just two times per year.
The new ordinance restricts fireworks from being discharged year-round except from June 15 to July 15 encompassing the Fourth of July and from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 accommodating New Year’s Eve.
The sale of fireworks within the borough would also be prohibited with exceptions during roughly the same time frames.
The borough is acting on a rash of complaints from residents about fireworks being discharged at all times of the night well past the Fourth of July and throughout the summer.
“We’ve had a lot of calls, especially about Mill Bay Beach,” assembly member Judy Fulp said. “People are not able to sleep and it goes on and on and on.”
Whether the borough has the ability to enforce the fireworks restrictions was an open question as the ordinance passed, with assembly members Jerrol Friend and Chris Lynch dissenting.
“I don’t see this as an enforceable law or rule and I have a problem with something that’s not really enforceable,” Friend said.
He also pointed out that the state already has laws against disturbing the peace late at night.
In a public hearing on the ordinance Sharon Blakeslee questioned making a rule for the borough when the complaints from fireworks were mainly limited to Mill Bay Beach and Mission Beach.
“The restriction is going to be for the entire borough — setnet sites, Fossil Beach, so forth — and I think that it sounds like most of the complaints are urban,” she said.
Like Friend, Blakeslee stressed that the borough doesn’t have the staff to enforce the fireworks restrictions.
“The state has troopers and VPSOs to enforce their laws and they would be more effective in this than us,” she said. “We should encourage them to enforce their law in the places where we are having problems.”
But assembly member Sue Jeffrey said she thought the fireworks restrictions would encourage Alaska State Troopers to address the problem.
“I like to think it will help the troopers and perhaps maybe even discourage some of the people that are abusing the privilege right now,” Jeffrey said.
Fulp attempted to amend the restrictions to apply only to the two beaches close to the city center that have been trouble spots for late night firework shows, Mill Bay and Mission beaches, but she could not get anyone to second the motion.
Assembly member Louise Stutes said she could not support limiting the restrictions to the two beaches because it would only result in fireworks use further out the roadway toward Bell’s Flats or Monashka Bay.
“You would be creating fire hazards,” Stutes said. “I think you would have the same issue. Those are populated areas.”
Mirror writer Wes Hanna can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.