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File #: ORD 2019-004    Version: 1 Name:
Type: Ordinance Status: Tabled
File created: 2/7/2019 In control: Town Council
On agenda: 2/19/2019 Final action: 2/19/2019
Title: Ordinance Amending Sections 8.24.020 and 8.26.040 of the Castle Rock Municipal Code Concerning Fireworks (First Reading)
Attachments: 1. Attachment A: Ordinance, 2. Tabled Ordinance

To:                     Honorable Mayor and Members of Town Council

 

From:                     Norris W. Croom III, Fire Chief

 

Title

Ordinance Amending Sections 8.24.020 and 8.26.040 of the Castle Rock Municipal Code Concerning Fireworks (First Reading)

Body

________________________________________________________________________________

 

Executive Summary

 

This ordinance is to modify language in the municipal code to prohibit the sale of fireworks during Stage 1 fire restrictions.

 

Discussion

 

The current municipal code regulates the sale and use of fireworks within the Town. Currently, under Stage 1 fire restrictions, the use of fireworks is prohibited, but the sale of fireworks is still allowed.  Both the use and sale of fireworks are prohibited when Stage 2 fire restrictions are in place.

 

The problem encountered over the last several years is allowing the sale of fireworks, but not the use of, during Stage 1 fire restrictions. Last year specifically while under Stage 1 fire restrictions, we received a number of concerns and complaints from residents who did not understand why they could purchase fireworks, but not use them due to the fire restrictions.  In addition, we did encounter individuals using legal fireworks that they had purchased locally not knowing that we were under restrictions that prohibited their use.

 

As it is difficult to anticipate whether or not fire restrictions will be in place prior to and including the Fourth of July, this places the Town in a difficult position of trying to anticipate whether or not the use of fireworks will be allowed. Weather conditions can change quickly so that one day we could be in fire restrictions and the next we are out and vice versa. This also makes it difficult to enforce the current code as it relates to the sale and use of fireworks.

 

The ultimate challenge comes from the risk that exists when fireworks are being used during fire restrictions.  Any time the Town enters fire restrictions, local conditions are conducive to allow for a rapidly growing wildland fire.  This, combined with our topography, large open spaces, and densely populated areas within the wildland urban interface, increases the concern for a large wildland fire to occur putting both lives and property at risk.

 

Since the fire and rescue department is tasked with trying to prevent fires as well as responding to them, allowing the sale of fireworks during fire restrictions only increases the opportunity that an individual may disregard the restriction on use, or they may not be aware of the restriction, during these times.  If the Town can clearly communicate that the use and sale of fireworks are prohibited during fire restrictions, this can help in reducing the chances of a fire start.

 

Many Front Range communities have taken action that is stricter than what is being proposed here.  For example, Adams County, Arapahoe County, Arvada, Aurora, Denver, Golden, Greenwood Village, Jefferson County, Littleton, Sheridan, and many others prohibit the use and sale of fireworks at all times.  Other jurisdictions, such as Castle Pines, Centennial, Greeley, Larkspur, Lone Tree, and Loveland do allow the use and sale unless fire restrictions are in in place.  The Town is part of this minority group that does allow the sale and use within Town limits.

 

To reduce the potential for wildland fires and to eliminate the confusion surrounding the use and sale during Stage 1 fire restrictions, it is the department’s recommendation to modify the municipal code to restrict the sale of fireworks during Stage 1 fire restrictions. If this change is approved, this would then mean that the use and sale of fireworks would be prohibited during any level of fire restrictions.

 

This proposed change was presented to the Public Safety Commission at their February 7th, 2019 meeting.  After discussion about the potential impacts to public safety, the Commission voted unanimously in favor of the proposed change.

 

Therefore, the proposed ordinance would add the language in the municipal code to prohibit the sale of fireworks during Stage 1 fire restrictions.

 

 

Budget Impact

 

There is no specific cost to implement this change.  In researching what the potential loss in sales tax would be by implementing this change, the Sales Tax Division reported that the Town collected approximately $4,000.00 in sales tax revenue in 2017, the latest year that this information was available.

 

Staff Recommendation

 

Staff recommends approval of the proposed changes.

 

Proposed Motion

 

“I move to approve ordinance as proposed.”

 

Attachments

Attachment A:  Ordinance