The idea to grant an exemption to fireworks stand operators to continue in business if the land they now are on is annexed in the August election poses interesting questions, wrapped in legality. The city council has agreed to look into what could be done legally, but a final decision is unlikely prior to the Aug. 5 election.
City Attorney Mark Piontek said the easiest way would be to change city and fire codes to permit fireworks sales in the city. However, there undoubtedly would be strong opposition to that. It probably would mean more competition for the fireworks stand operators now in business just outside the city limits. Piontek didn’t advocate changing the codes. He merely stated a fact.
The council was told it can’t “pick and choose” who it is going to allow to open a business. The city attorney said the council could handle an exemption such as it did with the hookah lounge, which was granted an exemption for a certain period and then the operator has to seek an extension. In other words, an exemption would be granted but with a time limit.
Discussed was a possible problem if the land annexed around the stand would be developed for other uses. That would have to be addressed, it was mentioned at the council meeting.
The council plans to discuss the issue with the fire chief and other officials. The council needs to take its time in reaching a decision. Safety is a major concern.