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Columbiana officials discuss new Ohio fireworks law

COLUMBIANA — City officials decided last week against banning fireworks on city-owned property and instead began the process to restrict hours for the discharge of fireworks on private property.

The decision was a direct response to a new state law (House Bill 172) that allows for the discharge of consumer grade fireworks on private property within the state beginning July 1, but only on specified dates of the year.

Previously, Ohio residents were allowed to purchase consumer grade fireworks within the state but could not set them off within the state. Instead, the fireworks were to be taken outside of the state within 48 hours to be set off elsewhere.

Columbiana Municipal Attorney Mark Hutson said it was apparent state residents were not abiding by the previous law.

Under the new state law that takes effect on July 1, Ohio residents will be able to set off fireworks on their own private property or someone else’s private property with permission from the property owner. Fireworks can only be set off on 17 specified dates throughout the year.

The new law has given cities, municipalities, townships and other government entities opt-out options.

City Council last week was presented with two options in ordinance form, to either ban fireworks on city-owned property, or restrict hours for the discharge of fireworks on private property.

With the exception of Councilman Dan Dattilio who was absent, council voted in favor of restricting hours on private property. The legislation requires a second reading before a final vote.

Once the ordinance is finalized, Columbiana residents would be able to discharge fireworks on private property between the hours of 3 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. on the 17 dates the state has allowed. Some of those dates are Memorial Day, Juneteenth, July 3, 4, and 5, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Labor Day weekend.

Hutson said some municipalities are considering a total ban of fireworks altogether, such as the city of Cleveland, however, he believes that policing a total ban would be difficult.

Council discussed whether a ban on municipal property and a restriction on private property could be done together, but Hutson said that was not allowed.

“Unfortunately, you can’t ban it and restrict it, you have to do one or the other,” he said.

Since council voted against banning fireworks on municipal property they can still be discharged, but only with permission from council, as has been the case already.

This means the laws do not effect already approved fireworks displays on city property, such as the Fourth of July festivities in Firestone Park.

Council also approved the following during the meeting:

— A motion to reset the public hearing from June 21 to July 19 at 7:15 p.m. regarding the rezone of 12.2322 acres of property at East Park Avenue from R-1 to R-1 PUD.

— A request from Marti Noles to hold the annual street party event on North Elm Street from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 24.

— A request from Crystal Siembida-Boggs for the 5K Sunset Dip race on July 21, with funds raised to go toward upkeep of the public pool at Firestone Park.

— Giving first reading to a resolution excluding the city of Salem for an alternate method of apportionment of local government fund monies to be distributed in 2023.

— Giving first reading to a resolution approving a new alternate method of apportionment of local government fund monies to be distributed in 2023.

— Giving a first reading to an ordinance establishing a wage schedule for certain full time and part time city employees.

— Giving a first reading to an ordinance authorizing City Manager Lance Willard to enter into a contract with Lyden Oil Company of Youngstown for the purchase of gasoline and diesel fuel.

— Giving a first reading to an ordinance authorizing Willard to enter into a contract with Greer Lime Company of Morgantown, W.Va., for the purchase of lime for the water treatment plant.

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