WATERLOO — Residents would have just four hours a year to shoot off fireworks in Waterloo under a plan up for debate this week.
City Council members are scheduled Monday to vote on an ordinance which would allow fireworks use on private property in the city limits only from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 4.
The council’s public works committee voted 2-1 in August to recommend the short window for fireworks, with Councilmen Jerome Amos Jr. and Tom Lind supporting the idea and Steve Schmitt voting against it.
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The Legislature and Gov. Terry Branstad legalized the sale and use of consumer fireworks this year for the first time in 80 years, allowing them to be used from June 1 through July 8 and again from Dec. 10 through Jan. 3.
The law does not allow cities to restrict the sale of fireworks. But cities are allowed to approve shorter usage periods or completely ban setting them off.
Earlier this year, Waterloo council members limited fireworks use from June 30 to July 4.
There was a public outcry following the Independence Day holiday from residents calling on the city to ban the fireworks because the noise traumatized veterans and others with stress disorders, agitated pets and disturbed the peace.
Fireworks supporters pushed back and suggested the issues this year were due to the novelty and will subside next year. Concerns were also raised about the police department’s ability to enforce a ban.
Several other large Iowa communities, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Dubuque, have completely banned consumer fireworks use. The City Council in Cedar Falls voted 4-3 Nov. 6 to approve the first reading of an ordinance preventing the use of fireworks.
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The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers on the second floor of City Hall. A work session on the fireworks ordinance is slated for 4:35 p.m.