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Snohomish council favors fireworks ban

SNOHOMISH — A near-majority of City Council members are leaning toward banning fireworks use out of Snohomish, plus taking a few other steps.
The council can set its own ban on personal fireworks. If it does, any ban would go into effect one year after being voted in.
Alternatively, it could set controls without an outright ban. This alternative gives the city authority to set a fireworks ban when dry conditions pose a high fire danger.
In a poll the city ran, half the respondents said to do nothing.
Snohomish currently allows setting off personal fireworks on July 4 and Dec. 27 to 31.
At its July 5 meeting, the council discussed inching toward a ban. The first step it's thinking of is banning the sale of fireworks in town.
Additionally, as soon as September, the council may transmit a couple of requests looking for backing on a ban.
One item likely would petition the County Council to consider a broad no-fireworks zone for central county, or potentially request a countywide ban. In 2019, the County Council made a fireworks ban zone covering unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County after being petitioned by South County Fire. It came into effect in 2021.
The other would be addressed to the Tulalip Tribes, home to the Boom City fireworks marketplace. Potentially Snohomish would send its concerns about the larger types of fireworks available for sale at stands there, although council members gave differing suggestions on what to ask. The city can’t tell the tribe what to do as it is a sovereign nation with its own rules.
The council chose not to ask voters their opinion this November on whether the city should ban fireworks. To some council members, the reason is timing: The August deadline to arrange getting something on November’s ballot would require moving rapidly.
Some council members, such as Judith Kuleta and David Flynn, said they’d still like to see a future public advisory vote on the matter.
Councilwoman Lea Anne Burke disagreed. The regional trend is cities are banning fireworks, and taking an advisory vote “is kicking the can down the road,” Burke said.
In 2016, the city ran a similar advisory vote. In that, a majority of 54% said no to banning fireworks.
Before July 5, the city ran a public Internet poll. Of 343 responses, half the respondents said to leave fireworks alone, according to the city.
A majority of council members said last week it’s time for fireworks to end. A few said Snohomish has ‘grown up’ to a point where it’s incompatible with living here.
The council took an unofficial poll on a full fireworks ban, which Flynn and Councilwoman Karen Guzak raised hands in favor for.
All seven council members supported an end to fireworks stands in town.
Council President Tom Merrill said halting fireworks sales in-town first would ease people away from using fireworks. Discharging them in town is “past their time,” he said, but he doesn’t want to create an unenforceable ban.
Police chiefs say bans are tough to enforce because of one hitch: Unless they encounter someone lighting fireworks at that moment, usually officers can’t catch scofflaws after the fact.

July 4 damage reports
This year’s Fourth was heavy on calls but light on fires in Snohomish.
One fireworks-related fire occurred on Avenue D in or near the Dollar Tree parking lot. A fire which burned an RV also might have been fireworks-related but that is undetermined, Fire District 4 Chief Don Waller said.
Snohomish Police Chief Mike Martin said a group stopped their car and shot fireworks at an apartment building. Police took eight fireworks complaint calls for the night, Martin said.



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