It may soon become legal for Hendersonville residents to shoot off fireworks on certain days and times around New Year’s Day and Independence Day.
The city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted on first reading Sept. 24 to allow the shooting of fireworks from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on July 1-3; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4 and from 10 a.m. on Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. on Jan. 1.
The city’s current policy does not allow the shooting of fireworks within the city limits at all without a permit.
Ward 4 Alderman Steve Brown and Ward 2 Alderman Scott Sprouse, co-sponsors of the legislation, said they both talked with police and fire officials before proposing the change.
Both noted that the city of Gallatin has had a similar ordinance in place for a couple of years that seems to be effective.
“All we’re asking is a time frame there basically to give our police department some latitude of when and if someone is really out of line,” said Brown.
Although the city’s current policy bans the shooting of fireworks without a permit, Sprouse said fire department officials have told him that no one besides professional fireworks companies request a permit.
That doesn’t mean that no one is shooting them off, he said, adding he often gets calls from constituents asking why the city doesn’t enforce the policy.
“And I couldn’t really answer that question other than volume,” he said.
Sprouse and Brown both said that allowing the shooting of fireworks during certain times will help law enforcement to better enforce the times shooting fireworks is not allowed.
“The promise we have been given from the police department is this will significantly improve enforcement,” said Sprouse. “Hopefully we will see a reduction in the number of days fireworks are shot off.”
The ordinance passed 12 to 1 on first reading with Mayor Jamie Clary casting the only no vote.
When asked why he voted against the ordinance, Clary said he’s “not convinced that allowing more fireworks will make people safer and improve the quality of life in Hendersonville.”
A second and final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 22. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will not meet on Tuesday, Oct. 8.