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Local

Morris City Council will take a closer look at fireworks ordinance

'Bombs bursting in air' are too much for some

Morris' mayor said there is a 'loophole' in state law that prohibits fireworks, something the city is looking to address on the local level.
Morris' mayor said there is a 'loophole' in state law that prohibits fireworks, something the city is looking to address on the local level.

The rockets red glare play an important role in the National Anthem.

But in Morris, members of the city council want to see the use and overuse of fireworks during summer months addressed.

"I had a lot of people calling about fireworks, with their pets being really scared," Third Ward Alderman Alex Clubb told members of the Morris City Council last week. "People with PTSD are having a hard time with it. I don't remember the fireworks being this bad, maybe we could look into something to try and tone down in the city limits. It's probably going to be hard."

"I got a lot of complaints," added First Ward Alderman Herb Wyeth. "I have no idea what it was, but it was a lot more it seemed like, for sure, but it also lasted for days."

Fireworks are addressed in the city's code of ordinances under Title 8 - Health and Safety

Per the code, "Fireworks" refer to smoke bombs or devices. It is unlawful to store, discharge or set off any fireworks or give any pyrotechnic displays in the city unless a permit is first obtained from the city council. All such public displays shall be under the supervision of a competent person and shall be supervised by the fire marshal or building and zoning officer.

A violation carries a fine of $100 to $750 per offense.

The state of Illinois prohibits the use of any fireworks outside of novelty items, such as sparklers and poppers.

But, Mayor Richard Kopczick said some people have found a way to skirt around state law.

"The chief and I met with regard to that same issue, we went over it, and there is a loophole in the state law that we will be looking to address with the city attorney to see if we can make our ordinance more stringent," Kopczick said. "I don't remember it ever being as bad as it was this year."

Kopczick said in addition to discussing the issue with police, he also brought it up with the fire marshal. Kopczick was hesitant to explain further what the state law loophole is, for fear of explaining to people how to get around the law.

"As most things are with the law, when it comes to our statutes we can be as stringent or more [than the state], but you can't be more lenient," Kopczick said. "So, we're hoping that this can be one of those cases where we can be can be more stringent on municipal code to update for next year. But outside of our corporate limits, we can't do anything about it."

Council members said any movement to address the issue would be helpful.

"I think a lot of people would be happy with that. I had a person who was not too far from me, and I was watching them blow them up into the trees and I was thinking, what are you doing?," Clubb said. "It sounded like a war zone out there."

The council did not have any further discussion or take any action on the issue.

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